NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule

WWE's current deal with NBCU expires on September 30, 2019.

While splitting up Raw and SmackDown Live would disrupt the continuity WWE has enjoyed with having both on USA Network, a move could be beneficial.

WWE RAW will most likely be staying on the USA Network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. WWE's final decision on the deal is reportedly planned to be announced sometime during the summer.

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Fox has emerged as one of the potential buyers as the network expressed its interest in acquiring the rights to Raw and SmackDown last March, per Michael McCarthy of Sporting News.

WWE's deal with USA / NBC expires on September 30, 2019, and they are now in an exclusive negotiating period with each other until the end of this spring. Fox, who in January scored a massive five-year, $550 million per year deal for the rights to the NFL's Thursday Night Football, is being speculated as a home for Smackdown Live. Initially airing on SyFy, they moved SD to U.S. full time in January 2016, but while it now boasts the sixth biggest audience among original cable shows, the blue brand will likely be ditched in favour of keeping Raw. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. This could be a very big deal pretty soon for a new network looking for a boost on Tuesday nights. Not only do they get to keep their long-standing relationship with NBC/USA, but they would also have the energy of another media conglomerate behind them in Fox.

WWE chief financial officer George Barrios earlier this week when asked about Raw and Smackdown airing on differrent networks.

  • Stacy Houston