WWE SmackDown Live Reportedly Heading To A New Network

Brenda Watkins
May 17, 2018

It's not clear yet when WWE expects to strike a deal for Smackdown Live and it's not clear if this new deal with NBCUniversal would keep Raw at 3 hours or back to 2 hours.

It has been long rumored that FOX had been looking to acquire both WWE RAW and WWE Smackdown once the wrestling company's current contract expires. In addition to Raw and Smackdown, WWE produces Main Event and Superstars for their streaming Network service.

- WWE could be seeing its shows split between networks as it works to negotiate new television deals, according to a new report. NBCUniversal is expected to pay as much as three times the current deal for Raw, which airs on USA Network.

Especially after the brand extension in 2016, it wouldn't hurt to create more separation between WWE's two biggest weekly programs.

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Reportedly, NBCUniversal paid $30 million for the rights to Smackdown Live in 2010, but the deal in 2019 would have been way more expensive. At the time, United States of America aired five hours of live WWE programming a week; WWE programming now airs two nights a week on USA.

NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show.

And if it is Raw on US and SmackDown on Fox broadcast television, the question then might become whether WWE decides to elevate SmackDown to being the unofficial "A" show. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.

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