The final Friday Night Smackdown will air on the CW Network on 9/12. WWE receives $700,000 weekly for the show, and the company will be hard pressed to find another network willing to pay the same figure or more to broadcast the program in the future. CW’s decision to drop the show came as a surprise within WWE.
For the season, the CW Network averages a 1.7 broadcast rating and 2.65 million viewers in prime time. Taking Smackdown out of equation pulls their average down to 1.4 or 1.5.
WWE’s contract with NBC Universal gives the NBC Universal family of networks exclusivity of WWE programming on cable.
There has been talk about WWE moving Smackdown to MyNetwork TV. For the season, the network averages a 0.74 broadcast rating in prime time nationally, and 1.09 million viewers. With WWE leaving CW, there has been discussion that if Smackdown ends up on MyNetworkTV, the show could move to a more desirable Tuesday or Thursday night time slot.
As we reported earlier, WWE receives $700,000 weekly from the CW Network to broadcast Friday Night Smackdown. MyNetworkTV, which is only considered a network, only paid IFL $50,000 per first run episode and $20,000 per repeat airing last year.
WWE’s weekly production cost to tape an episode of Smackdown is about $630,000.