Smackdown Reportedly Being Shopped as NBCUniversal Focuses On Keeping Raw

Lawrence Kim
May 17, 2018

As such, WWE would potentially want to tailor SmackDown Live for a new demographic, which in turn could mean Raw and SmackDown Live adopting identities specific to their respective networks.

For this latest cycle, early reports indicate that WWE's outlook could be very, very different. It was noted that a new deal for RAW would be worth three times the current value, which would open up Smackdown moving to a new network.

It sounds like NBCUniversal is able to afford airing Raw only so Smackdown Live may have to find a new network to call home.

Belloni reported NBCUniversal is allowing WWE Smackdown Live to go to open bidding, but RAW would remain with the network. Both NBCUniversal and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations.

NBCU scored rights to SmackDown - the second-longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. TV history - in 2010. At the time, the company is said to have paid $30 million for rights to the franchise. SmackDown started airing live in May 2016, increasing the value for advertising during the wrestling show.

Smackdown Live moved to the USA Network July of 2016, after 17 years of appearing on SyFy, MyNetworkTV, UPN and others. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals.

WWE's television contract is expiring in 2019 with the USA Network.

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".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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