NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule


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.

Hollywood Reporter Editorial Director Matthew Belloni posted information Wednesday indicating that Smackdown Live could be done on the USA Network, while Raw is sticking around at triple the price they're now making.

The company's current contract with NBC Universal will come to an end in 2019 and the WWE is now in a negotiation period to determine where their programming ends up. WWE programming is an obvious fit for the "new Fox" focused on sports and live events and SmackDown could anchor Fox programming on Tuesday nights.

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.

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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. "From our end, [we don't think] it's an issue to split it", said Barrios. We have done it before. As such, WWE would potentially want to tailor SmackDown Live for a new demographic, which in turn could mean Raw and SmackDown Live adopting identities specific to their respective networks.

It's been speculated that the show could end up on FOX. This also means that WWE Raw will probably continue to be three hours long.

PWInsider contacted WWE regarding the report and responded by saying "No comment".

We at the Outerhaven will reach out to both World Wrestling Entertainment as well as NBCUniversal and update this article with any relevant information related to this story.