WWE has been actively discussing its media rights, casting doubt on SmackDown's future on FOX. In a new development, WWE has officially announced via a press release that SmackDown will be transitioning back to the USA Network.
According to the press release, TKO Group and NBC Universal have struck a new five-year contract that will relocate SmackDown to the USA Network, starting from October 2024. The agreement also includes the creation of four annual specials for NBC's primetime slot. Nick Khan has indicated that despite the network change, SmackDown will maintain its Friday night timeslot.
The contracts for both Raw and NXT, currently airing on the USA Network on Mondays and Tuesdays respectively, are set to expire in September 2024. The Hollywood Reporter has disclosed that due to SmackDown's shift to the network, Raw and NXT are likely to leave:
“The new deal will bring WWE to NBC primetime and SmackDown to USA on Friday nights, it will also mean the end of Raw and NXT on USA."
An insider familiar with the Raw discussions told The Hollywood Reporter that the bidding war for the show is "extremely active," involving traditional broadcasters, streaming platforms, and some surprising bidders.
⚡ WWE Secures Approximately 40% Higher Rights Fees for SmackDown Return to USA Network
WWE's broadcasting contracts for RAW, NXT, and SmackDown are set to expire next year. Presently, RAW and NXT are broadcast on the USA Networ [...]— Ben Jordan Kerin Sep 21, 2023 10:30AM
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