×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WWE’s ‘SmackDown Live’ Moves to Fox Broadcasting in 2019

WWE and Fox Sports have officially closed a five-year deal that will see “SmackDown Live” air on Fox Broadcasting beginning next year.

The sports entertainment company announced Tuesday that “SmackDown Live” will debut on Fox on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The weekly, two-hour live show will continue to air year-round.

WWE and Fox are a perfect match,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman, and CEO. “Moving ‘SmackDown Live’ to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage Fox’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”

On air for almost 20 years and nearly 1,000 episodes, “SmackDown Live” is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, behind only fellow WWE show “Monday Night Raw,” which has aired over 1,300 episodes to date.

“At Fox we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the Fox Sports family and bring ‘SmackDown Live’ to broadcast television,” said Eric Shanks, president, COO, and executive producer of Fox Sports. “We are huge fans and know that together Fox Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”

In addition, WWE also announced that USA Network will continue to air “Raw” for a further five years. USA had contractual first right of refusal on both shows, with the cabler choosing to focus on the more popular “Raw” brand and allow “SmackDown” to enter the marketplace.

“Raw” is currently averaging 3.6 million viewers per episode in Live+7 viewing, while “SmackDown” is averaging 2.9 million.

The announcement comes after reports surfaced last month that Fox and WWE had reached a deal to move “SmackDown” to the broadcast network. This will mark the show’s sixth network home since 1999. “SmackDown” launched on the now-defunct UPN in 1999 before moving to The CW in 2006. It then aired on Fox’s MyNetworkTV starting in 2008 and then moved to Syfy in 2010. It joined “Raw” on USA in 2016, with “SmackDown” also moving to a live format at that time.

“SmackDown” adds to burgeoning sports lineup on the so-called “New Fox” should the proposed merger between 21st Century Fox and Disney be completed. In addition to the recently signed five-year deal with the NFL to air “Thursday Night Football,” Fox is planning to split the UFC television rights with ESPN.

 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Patricia Arquette accepts the award for

    Emmys: Patricia Arquette Makes Powerful Plea For Trans Rights

    Patricia Arquette gave an impassioned plea for transgender rights while accepting an Emmy on Sunday night. The actress won for her supporting role as Dede Blanchard in Hulu’s limited series “The Act.” “I just have to say I’m grateful to be working, I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life,” [...]

  • Laverne Cox arrives at the 71st

    Laverne Cox Raises Awareness About LGBTQ Supreme Court Case With Rainbow-Colored Purse

    “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox strutted down the purple carpet at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards flaunting a small, rainbow-colored purse with the words “Oct. 8, Title VII Supreme Court” across the front. “Oct. 8 there’s an incredibly important case going to the Supreme Court involving Title VII,” she told Variety as [...]

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepts the award for

    Emmys Surprise: Phoebe Waller-Bridge Wins Lead Actress in a Comedy

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge won the 2019 lead comedy actress Emmy for her titular role on Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag.” Waller-Bridge created the streaming series in which she stars and was nominated in the comedy writing category this year (the show was also up for comedy series overall). Her MI6 drama “Killing Eve” was also nominated in [...]

  • Alex Borstein Emmys

    Emmys: Alex Borstein Pays Tribute to Grandmother Who Survived the Holocaust

    After winning the supporting comedy actress Emmy for the second year in a row, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star Alex Borstein paid tribute to her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, in a powerful speech. She started by thanking a number of women, including “Maisel” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and the cast and crew of the Amazon Prime [...]

  • The Politician - Ben Platt

    Netflix Drops Final 'The Politician' Trailer (Watch)

    As Netflix is busy battling HBO on stage for Emmys supremacy, the streamer also released the final trailer for Ryan Murphy’s latest series “The Politician.” The series centers around Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), an aspiring politician from Santa Barbara, California who must navigate the ins and outs of high school if he’s to ever win [...]

  • Atmosphere71st Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Announcement,

    Emmy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

    Television’s biggest night is currently underway at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are expected to be big winners at the 2019 Emmy Awards, but a handful of small-screen favorites are also vying for top prizes. Among drama series, the epic conclusion to HBO’s “Game [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel arrives at the 71st

    Bethenny Frankel Reveals Her New Slate of 'Female-Centric' Shows For MGM

    Reality star Bethenny Frankel is still staying busy after announcing her plans to exit the “Real Housewives” franchise last month. She left because she wanted to “explore my next chapter,” and entered a production partnership with Mark Burnett and MGM television. “Most of them happen to be female-centric,” she said on the Emmys purple carpet [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content