Report: WWE SmackDown expected to move to Fox in October 2019

Originally published at

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has additional information on the deal, reporting that it is a five-year deal worth over $1 billion. That would break down to $205 million per year to broadcast SmackDown, which was not even the highest bid the WWE received. THR adds they received a larger bid but opted to align themselves with Fox, who can heavily promote the show across their major sports properties.

A deal between the WWE and Fox is expected to be announced following Monday’s reports that big Fox will become the new home of SmackDown.

Darren Rovell at ESPN reported that a deal is expected between the two entities that would see the WWE’s Tuesday night program leave the USA Network to move to Fox following the WWE’s existing deal with NBC Universal. The current deal with NBC Universal expires in the fall of 2019.

There was an additional report from Tony Maglio of The Wrap, confirming the move to Fox and adding that the show would be moving to Friday nights on Fox when it launches in October 2019.

There are many questions that linger from this announcement from the amount being paid by Fox, the production element if they are moving to Friday nights whether this will continue as a live broadcast or revert to a taped format, and the length of the deal. It would be premature to speculate on any of the deal points as this is a story with a huge ripple effect to the WWE’s business and the outlook for the foreseeable future.

Fox and the WWE are not commenting on the story.


Last week, The Hollywood Reporter covered the WWE’s ongoing domestic negotiations with a report that NBC Universal was looking to renew Raw at “three times its current value” while placing SmackDown on the open market.

The WWE’s pending deal with Fox comes in the final year of the network’s seven-year pact with the UFC. It was reported earlier this year by John Ourand at Sports Business Journal, that Fox made an offer in the range of $200 million per year to the UFC and would likely be the floor for the UFC’s upcoming domestic television rights deal.

Fox recently spent $3.3 billion on the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package over five-years and begins with the upcoming season. In addition to the NFL, Fox is also involved in rights deals with Major League Baseball, NASCAR, and Major League Soccer.

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I should’ve bought stock when they had that major loss…I would’ve been killing it right now.

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LOL I was thinking the same thing. Everyone can ignore my cynical posts in other topics about how lofty WWE’s goals were. That they got this deal for Smackdown is amazing! Hopefully this kick starts a new era of really focused booking and storytelling.

I don’t think WWE should be able to get away with storylines spinning their wheels for weeks on end on Fox like it does on USA.

That’s a lot of money per year. I hope regular watchers see an improvement in the production quality.

Fox would be happy if Smackdown does better than the UFC on Fox did in the last few years.

Also If people are thinking smackdown is going to go all Family Guy because they’ll be on Fox is really going to set themselves up for disappointment.

…I don’t even know what that means? That people thinking SD is going to get funnier are going to be disappointed? Or disappointed if its not Crazier? Or Cruder? Or Animated?

“Edgier”…thought that pretty obvious.

Family guy hasn’t been funny for a long long time.

I guess I don’t think Family Guy has been “edgy” for a long long time either.

Nothings been “edgy” since the 90s tbh.

$1 Billion for 5yrs of SDL is stunning but it airing on Network television is a game changer for WWE.

That being said, I am most interested in learning the details of this deal, specifically the language of the deal related to the target numbers that WWE must attain and FOX’s options to (a) Opt-Out (b) Move the program to FS1 or FS2 if WWE fails to attain those numbers.

FOX would not make this deal without such safeguards in place to allow them the flexibility to move or cancel SDL if it hemorrhages viewers.

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So does this new deal make it viable for the wrestlers to get health insurance? Or does the company just bump their paydays so they don’t have to deal with insurance?

That’s almost $2 million per hour of content!

If the rumored higher offer was from Facebook, I am really glad they turned it down.

That means SmackDown will likely get pre-empted for playoff baseball in the fall. When was the last time WWE programming got bumped for sports?

BTW @wai0937 and @johnpollock, I’m perfectly fine if there’s a delay with your Smackdown reviews when they move to Fridays. I don’t desperately need to hear about it straight away, but that’s just me haha.

They are also making it 3 hours. I really hope this hurts ratings big time and people start turing off WWE from burnout. Fans need to demand that it be 2 hours or not watch at all. Same with the ppvs now all being 4 hours fans need to stop watching and demand it go back to 3.

Basketball games are too long…I watch the first quarter and last quarter. Same with Football and same with Hockey and if the games are not keeping my attention…I don’t watch.

Isn’t that hard…you as a fan are not obligated to sit through it all.

I saw the PPV to four hour news. But I haven’t seenSD going to 3 hours actually confirmed and not just a rumor.

Cannot see Fox running a taped version of this show for that kind of money. Live content is the premium.

I don’t think this will happen, but it would be something if Fox got their hands dirty and this became to Fox what WCW was to Turner. We could be getting a lot of money thrown at a lot of new guys to bolster the must see element of a prime time Friday show.

This money is game changing. This alligntment is game changing.

Also. I am the proud owner of some stock. I spend so much time following this company I always hoped it would pay me back.