While I am not the first to break the news that WWE's weekly series on MyNetwork TV known as Friday Night SmackDown will be moving to SyFy, I do have an opinion on it. And some will like it, yet others will hate it; but hey, you can't please them all.
I think this could be the best move as far as TV goes for the WWE since WWE RAW moved from Spike TV to USA Network. While RAW was still doing well on Spike, they have had so much more success on USA, and the same will be the case when SmackDown moves to SyFy.
The question most are asking is, why the move?
It's a bit complicated, but I'll make it easy to understand. Ten years ago when SmackDown started on UPN, it was a much needed show simply because talent needed another show to get on TV. It was impossible for the WWE to put their entire roster on TV every week with only two hours to use, and basically an hour and 20 minutes of actual programming (the rest being commercials).
So, they made another show to use them on. Then it seemed that it was too hard to make two hours of programming with the same people in the main event basically. So, they split the shows up to where certain stars would be on RAW and others would be on SmackDown. It worked, and that is where we still are today.
However, between 2006 and early 2010 we had a program known as ECW. Which did well for its start, then became Entertainment Championship Wrestling, not Extreme Championship Wrestling like it should have stayed. But I digress.
SmackDown has been one of the most popular shows on TV, even getting record ratings during its time slot. It now averages in the 2.0s for ratings weekly, but it's not the show's entertainment value that is the problem, it's that not as many viewers have MyNetwork TV as they did the CW, SmackDown's former home.
The move to SyFy is huge for them simply because more people across the world can see it, which makes the WWE even bigger. Ten years ago, not as many people had cable or satellite. Heck, I'm one of those that didn't.
So the WWE had to put something there instead of all satellite or cable accessible shows, why take that audience away?
However, 10 years later a huge amount of people now have either satellite or cable. The number has probably gone up since last summer, when the digital transition hit and many people finally decided to jump to more programming with satellite or cable.
Shows on cable and satellite consistently do great in the ratings on almost every night during primetime, which shows that the same amount or more people watch on cable or satellite as they do on regular TV. Having a primetime show of their's move to cable just helps the WWE out more if you ask me.
SyFy is a part of the NBC Universal blanket along with USA Network, which is RAW's home. MyNetwork TV is also owned by FOX, so obviously the WWE had to wait out their deal with them, or buy out of their deal, which is most likely what happened.
MyNetwork TV has been thought to be going down before the end of 2010, and in knowing that, the WWE has been in talks with NBC about a possible move. The thing is that it just wasn't the right time to make the leap.
ECW was on SyFy, and really the only other channel the WWE would want to go to other than SyFy in the NBC Universal circle would have been NBC itself. Seeing as it is in far more homes than MyNetwork TV and it's the only channel they would allow the WWE to go and stay under the NBC Universal banner, since the channel is no threat to any of their shows in certain timeslots.
But with NBC already having a Friday Night line-up and being THE network for NBC Universal, it would be easier to move SyFy's Friday Night line-up. SyFy also needs SmackDown too, let's just be honest here.
They don't get massive ratings, but with SmackDown they can move up in the ratings war on Friday. Tuesday night would be where shows during SmackDown's new time slot would go. They will be at their normal 8/7c time, of course.
Some are asking though, when will SmackDown move? From the press release that came out Tuesday morning, it will be at the beginning of October. WWE NXT will end its first season the week before or show replays of the program leading up to SmackDown, and most likely NXT will be going to another network or be gone forever and be replaced by another WWE Show.
There is a thought of putting it on WGN America, but others are thinking it will go to MyNetwork TV. Some think it could go to a surprise network in NBC Universal's package like Bravo or A&E. But we'll have to see about that.
SmackDown's move is good for the WWE and its fans, so I for one am glad to see it there. I can't tell you how many times I talked to some UK fans who have to watch SmackDown online every week because they don't have MyNetwork TV, and some Americans can't see it either, so the move to SyFy is a good one for them aswell.
This move helps just about anyone outside of America, and it even helps Americans as well. Plus on a side note, SyFy looks better in HD, MyNetwork TV is horrible.
But does this also mean that the WWE is finally starting to make SmackDown an "A" show? While RAW is the WWE's flagship and always will be, SmackDown is liked by more fans than RAW these days. Having two first class shows instead of constantly trying to bury another and to make RAW look better at first glance would be better.
It has the better wrestling, all the great young talent, and more compelling storylines. I don't know any fan that hates SmackDown and only watches RAW. I guess I should get out more, but even then it's unlikely I will find a WWE fan who hates SmackDown.
But you know how I feel, what do you think about the move? Did the WWE make the right decision by moving SmackDown to SyFy?
Again, the change will take effect October 1, 2010. So we won't have to wait too much longer.