WWE Rumor Mill: Will the brand split end once Smackdown Live moves over to Fox?
What’s the story?
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter discussed the rumors on the brand split potentially ending in 2019 once Smackdown Live moves over to Fox.
In Case You Didn’t Know…
In June 2018, it was officially reported that Smackdown Live would have a new home in October 4, 2019. Fox and WWE signed a five-year agreement worth $1.025 billion dollars in total. The blue brand will transition to a two-hour block on Friday nights.
"At Fox we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the Fox Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television, We are huge fans and know that together Fox Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future." A quote restated on hollywoodreporter.com of Eric Shanks, president and COO at Fox Sports.
There have been reports on Fox wanting changes to Smackdown Live. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has reported that the network wants the blue brand to feature less comedy and feel more like a real sport event.
This is due to FOX's slate for programming from Thursday to Sunday which is heavily focused on sports. The network wants to advertise wrestling during its major sporting events—like their Thursday and Sunday NFL games.
With Smackdown Live set to be seen as the flagship show come next year, speculation has run rampant on Vince McMahon possibly doing away with the dual brands gimmick.
The heart of the matter
This is strictly speculation, as plans can always change, but PWMania.com has the report of the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, in which Dave Meltzer states that there are no plans for the company to end the brand split once Smackdown Live moves to its new home next year:
“There was speculation going around that with the move to FOX that they would go to one brand because they would need all the top stars on FOX because of how important network primetime numbers are,” Dave Meltzer wrote. “That was denied to us and said that FOX doesn’t really want to cross-promote the same talent as NBC Universal and the expectation is split crews would remain.”
At the moment, all the rumors and speculation will be just that until Smackdown Live moves over to Fox Sports in 2019. However, 2019 should be a very interesting year for the blue brand.