WWE and Fox Sports are closing a deal for “SmackDown” to jump to the Fox broadcast channel in fall 2019, TheWrap has learned exclusively. The popular pro-wrestling show will air on Fridays, a person with knowledge of the deal said.
The weekly sister series to WWE’s “Raw” currently airs live each Tuesday from 8-10 p.m. on USA Network. It has aired pre-taped on both Thursdays and Fridays in the past.
This won’t be “SmackDown’s” first time on broadcast — the 19-year-old show used to air on UPN, then The CW, then MyNetworkTV, before heading to NBCUniversal’s Syfy and, ultimately, USA.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the individual said the five-year deal could be worth as much as $1 billion. WWE and Fox Sports both declined comment on this story.
Comcast, which owns NBCU and thus USA, will maintain the Monday series “Raw.”
The pricey rights to the two most popular weekly professional wrestling shows have been on the auctioneer’s block for a few months now. Simultaneously, those platforms interested in live sporting events and a young male demo have also been bidding on UFC packages.
This coming fall TV season, Fox broadcast will air the following from 8-10:
8-8:30: “Last Man Standing”
8:30-9: “The Cool Kids”
9-10: “Hell’s Kitchen”
Should those series return for the 2019-2020 season, they’ll need to find a new night, it seems.
WWE Superstar Shakeup 2018: 42 Wrestlers You'll Now Only See on 'SmackDown Live' (Photos)
You won’t see any of these guys and girls on “Raw” anymore
We all just lived through another WWE Superstar Shakeup, and if your head is still spinning, we're here to help: TheWrap has tracked down where all 96 main roster wrestlers now work.
In our tallies, we only counted regular in-ring wrestlers, so no managers or agents or wives or escorts, etc. -- even if they step between the ropes once or twice a year. Though we listed the obvious and current stables and tag teams together, we added up wrestlers individually.
Readers can check out our "Raw" gallery here.