WWE’s flagship TV show, Monday Night Raw, has aired in a two hour and three hour format since its inception in the 1990’s, and currently, the show airs for three hours on USA Network.
Raw’s counterpart, WWE Smackdown Live, has always aired as a two hour show, with many fans preferring the shorter Blue Brand product to the Monday night show, which is often criticized for featuring an excess of “filler content” to satisfy three hours.
In addition to the three hour format, one concept which has remained a constant for WWE Raw since the Monday Night Wars is the “overrun”, which sees Raw extend beyond three hours, often times ending the show close to 11:15pm EST as opposed to the show ending at the advertised 11pm EST.
According to a new report by Fightful, it appears as if WWE will finally be doing away with the Raw overrun, as beginning next week the show is set to end precisely at 11pm EST, giving the Red Brand’s TV show a hard cut-off similar to that of Smackdown Live.
The overrun for WWE Raw is something which began during the Monday Night Wars in 90’s, when WWE was battling WCW’s flagship show Nitro. Back then, WWE Raw and Nitro overlapped from 9-10pm EST, and when Nitro expanded to three hours, the show competed with the entirety of Raw from 8-10pm EST.
With both WWE and WCW battling for Monday night supremacy, Raw would often air with an overrun in order to maximize airtime for the final hour of the show, which was competing head-to-head with the end of Nitro’s second hour and the beginning of its third.
The move to end Raw’s traditional overrun is something likely ordered by NBCUniversal and USA Network, however the exact reason why USA is scrapping the concept remains unknown. With WWE TV ratings currently sluggish during the fall TV season and the NFL, it’s very possible the move to scrap the overrun concept was made as overruns do very little to help Raw ratings on a weekly basis.