US Wrestling Scene News

WWE: Update on the Future of SmackDown

One of the big stories coming out of last week is that after a 10-year partnership, WWE’s successful show "SmackDown!" is leaving The CW Network (formerly UPN). The final episode of Smackdown to air on the CW Network is scheduled to be Friday, September 12.

CW executives do not think that SmackDown leaving will hurt their network. Despite SmackDown! being one of CW’s top rated shows, research data indicated that WWE fans were tuning into the CW just for SmackDown and would not watch any other CW shows.

At this point, "MyNetworkTV" is looking to be the frontrunner as the new home for Smackdown this Fall. Due to WWE’s agreement with NBC Universal, WWE has the right to bring the SmackDown series to any broadcast network that wants to pick it up, but contractually would only be able to bring the series to a cable network that was not part of the NBC Universal family.
Due to the fact that MyNetworkTV is a step down from The CW in terms of network prestige (it’s the lowest rated network), WWE expects to lose money from their new "rights fees" agreement.