It has been known for quite some time that WWE had reached a television agreement with broadcast network Fox to air Smackdown Live. With programming set to air sometime in October 2019 comes the question of whether Smackdown Live will continue to air live versus tape-delay.
FOX Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier confirmed at a Television Critics Association press tour that the show will keep its live format. In addition, he also stated that Friday nights will belong to WWE, using the phrase ‘short-term’.
Perhaps it’s a trial and error standpoint, as oftentimes many programs do not fare well on Friday nights. However Smackdown has been aired on Fridays in the past. As the television agreement is for five years, the blue brand could change nights depending on how it performs ratings-wise.
Considering WWE has been struggling with yo-yo numbers for the last couple of years, it proves interesting to see how well it fares on a major network such as Fox. It’s known that WWE likes to aim towards its casual fans as it gains mainstream popularity.
With big names such as Ronda Rousey, it wouldn’t be a surprise if household names such as hers will get moved to the blue brand to help bring in viewers.
The travel schedule for the Smackdown talent will also have to be adjusted to suit to the Friday night commitments. If the network decided to switch nights, it could possibly bring more headaches in terms of live event scheduling.
It is worth noting that Collier has also announced the plan of having more WWE content on Fox’s cable sports networks, primarily FS1. While there are no further details of what Fox could be planning, the idea of recap shows comes to mind. There has also been talk of NXT landing its first network spot on the channel, which would bring much exposure to the hot developmental brand.
How events fare on Fox will be telling for WWE when it comes to future programming.