Behind-the-scenes view on WWE SmackDown moving to USA Network (Exclusive)
WWE has announced that SmackDown will return to USA Network as part of a five-year agreement with NBCUniversal. Sources within WWE told Sportskeeda Wrestling's Dr. Chris Featherstone that they were happy with the news, describing the deal as a "smart business move."
As part of the agreement, WWE will air four primetime special events per year on NBC. A source said WWE has a "great relationship" with USA Network and expects the NBC specials to be "huge."
The deal will begin in October 2024, meaning the Friday night show will continue to air on FOX for the next year.
USA Network already broadcasts WWE's weekly RAW and NXT shows on Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively. The television station also aired SmackDown between January 2016 and September 2019.
In an official announcement, WWE President Nick Khan commented on the company's new deal with NBCUniversal:
"NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades. We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC."
Sportskeeda Wrestling Senior Editor Bill Apter previously suggested that USA Network should gain the rights to the blue brand following the success of RAW and NXT.
What does SmackDown's move mean for RAW and NXT?
While USA Network is set to welcome the blue brand back to its weekly schedule, the futures of RAW and NXT remain uncertain. Both shows are only contracted to air on USA Network until fall 2024, prompting speculation about where they might be broadcast next.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, WWE is willing to listen to offers from several networks regarding RAW broadcasting rights:
"A source familiar with the RAW discussions tell The Hollywood Reporter that the market for the program is 'extremely active,' with traditional linear networks, streaming services and 'unexpected players' all interested."
NBCUniversal owns both NBC and USA Network. It also runs the Peacock streaming service, the home of the WWE Network.
Do you think SmackDown moving to USA Network is a good thing? Let us know in the comments section below.