Report: WWE, Fox Agree to 'Massive' SmackDown TV Deal, Will Move Show to Friday

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, left, Ronda Rousey, center, and WWE EVP of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press

SmackDown Live is not only leaving USA Network—it's also leaving Tuesdays.

Tony Maglio of The Wrap reported SmackDown will be moving to Fox beginning in Fall 2019, where it will air on Fridays. USA declined its right of first refusal to negotiate a new contract for WWE's second flagship weekly program, which began airing live in 2016. 

SmackDown has aired on USA Network since January 2016. It previously aired on UPN (1999-2006), The CW (2006-2008), MyNetworkTV (2008-2010) and Syfy (2010-2015).

Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter noted the deal will be worth $1 billion over five years. The program is expected to continue airing live.

The move to Fox will mark the first time WWE has aired regularly on one of the so-called Big Four networks. Some WWE programming has aired occasionally on NBC during the company's deal with NBC Universal, though it's largely been confined to special occasions. USA Network will continue airing the flagship Monday Night Raw program.

SmackDown is currently averaging 2.59 million viewers per week on USA. Expanding the audience will likely lead to an increase in ratings and exposure for WWE while providing Fox with appointment live television on Friday nights, a rarity in today's on-demand culture. 

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