NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule

Posted May 17, 2018

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. They added that Fox is a potential suitor for Smackdown, a network that had been rumored for months for Raw as well.

WWE's TV contract with NBC Universal was re-signed in 2014 and eventually lead to the USA Network becoming the exclusive channel for Raw and SmackDown Live broadcasts.

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Belloni reported NBCUniversal is allowing WWE Smackdown Live to go to open bidding, but RAW would remain with the network.

However in 2019 the current TV deal between the WWE and NBCUniversal is expiring and this could change the landscape for Smackdown Live.

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PWInsider contacted WWE regarding the report and responded by saying "No comment". SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show. Initially airing on SyFy, they moved SD to United States of America 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.

The main thing WWE needs to agree on is that Smackdown Live needs to air preferably on Tuesday nights in order for the show to stay being "live". 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. In addition to Raw and Smackdown, WWE produces Main Event and Superstars for their streaming Network service. Throughout much of its existence, SmackDown has been seen as secondary to Raw, no matter how much WWE would do to present the two shows as equal.

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