Just in case it wasn’t clear before. Earlier this year, the wrestling world was rocked with the announcement that WWE was moving SmackDown Live to the FOX Network in October 2019. This was a major change of pace for the company and the show as a whole as network television was a major mountain for the company to climb. While the announcement had been all but confirmed, we now have an official word with a big detail being confirmed.
Maybe they can reuse these ads?
USA NETWORK AND WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW EXTEND LONG-STANDING PARTNERSHIP
USA Network and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a five-year extension for WWE’s flagship program Monday Night Raw. The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block which commences in October 2019 continues WWE and USA’s nearly three decade-long relationship. Monday Night Raw, the #1 show on USA Network, delivers action, drama, compelling storylines and unmatched athleticism, 52 weeks per year.
“Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run,” says Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we’ll take Raw to even greater heights.”
“We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal and USA Network,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Monday Night Raw has been synonymous with USA Network and we are excited about what the future holds for WWE’s flagship program.”
On the air for 25 years and more than 1,300 episodes, Monday Night Raw is the longest-running weekly episodic television show in U.S. primetime history and consistently a ratings juggernaut. Among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable, Raw delivers more viewers in the U.S. than all sports other than the NFL. On USA Network, the weekly block is currently averaging 1.7M P18-49, 1.7M P25-54 and 3.6M total viewers P2+1.
Since its debut in 1993 on USA, Raw has been watched nearly 6 billion times in the U.S. alone. In its 25-year history, Raw has helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.
FOX SPORTS BECOMES NEW HOME OF SMACKDOWN LIVE
For the first time, every Friday night beginning October 4, 2019, FOX broadcast network will air WWE’s flagship program SmackDown Live as part of a new five-year agreement with FOX Sports. The weekly, two-hour live event will air 52 weeks a year and captivate fans with a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism.
“At FOX we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the FOX Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television,” said Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer FOX Sports. “We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
“WWE and FOX are a perfect match,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”
SmackDown Live is a consistent winner on television, currently averaging1 1.3M P18-49, 1.3M P25-54 and 3M total viewers P2+.
On air for almost 20 years and nearly 1,000 episodes, SmackDown Live is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw. SmackDown Live is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable and delivers more viewers in primetime than any cable network in the U.S. (2.9 million average viewers).
SmackDown Live has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.
Opinion: That takes care of the formalities but it’s such a great relief to see that SmackDown Live is only going to be two hours instead of expanding it to three. The show has found a nice little sweet spot with the two hours live every week and moving that to Friday will do just fine. If nothing else it’s going to shoot SmackDown way ahead of Monday Night Raw as the flagship show, at least at the beginning. I’m not sure if that’s going to last, but it should be interesting in the early going.
Do you like WWE going to FOX? Will SmackDown Live become the A show? Let us know in the comments below.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 27 wrestling books. His latest book is the NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans.
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