WWE is headed to network television.
Vince McMahon’s wrestling behemoth will move “SmackDown Live” to Fox starting in October 2019, according to ESPN.com and various other outlets. NBC Universal declined its right of first refusal, The Hollywood Reporter noted last week, to concentrate on retaining “Monday Night Raw,” which like “SmackDown” is broadcast on USA.
THR reported that the deal is for five years at $205 million per year and that the WWE turned down a larger offer because it favored Fox’s commitment to promote the show.
Further details of the agreement remain unclear. The Wrap reported that the show would be moving from Tuesday to Friday and would grow from a two- to three-hour program.
“SmackDown” boasts 2.59 million viewers per week, numbers that will only grow with the move to broadcast television. It also holds value as a live broadcast, making it less susceptible to the hits programs take from DVR and On Demand.