World Wrestling Entertainment officially announced today that Raw is staying on USA Network for at least five more years in October 2019 and Smackdown is moving to Fox live on Friday Nights starting in October 2019. These days were reported about last month, but they are official now. While WWE did not disclose how much money they are getting paid, it’s believed to be over $2 billion combined for both shows over the five years. The official start date for Smackdown on Fox broadcast network is October 4, 2019.
Here are the official statements from WWE on both deals.
NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn. – USA Network and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a five-year extension for WWE’s flagship program Monday Night Raw. The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block which commences in October 2019 continues WWE and USA’s nearly three decade-long relationship. Monday Night Raw, the No. 1 show on USA Network, delivers action, drama, compelling storylines and unmatched athleticism, 52 weeks per year.
“Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run,” Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainmentt, said. “Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we’ll take Raw to even greater heights.”
“We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal and USA Network,” WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon said. “Monday Night Raw has been synonymous with USA Network and we are excited about what the future holds for WWE’s flagship program.”
On the air for 25 years and more than 1300 episodes, Monday Night Raw is the longest-running weekly episodic television show in U.S. primetime history and consistently a ratings juggernaut. Among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable, Raw delivers more viewers in the U.S. than all sports other than the NFL.
Since its debut in 1993 on USA, Raw has been watched nearly 6 billion times in the U.S. alone. In its 25-year history, Raw has helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.
NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., June 26, 2018 – For the first time, every Friday night beginning October 4, 2019, FOX broadcast network will air WWE’s flagship program SmackDown LIVE as part of a new five-year agreement with FOX Sports. The weekly, two-hour live event will air 52 weeks a year and captivate fans with a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism.
“At FOX we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the FOX Sports family and bring SmackDown LIVE to broadcast television,” said Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer FOX Sports. “We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
“WWE and FOX are a perfect match,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Moving SmackDown LIVE to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”
SmackDown LIVE is a consistent winner on television, currently averaging 1 1.3M P18-49, 1.3M P25-54 and 3M total viewers P2+.
On air for almost 20 years and nearly 1,000 episodes, SmackDown LIVE is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw. SmackDown Live is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable and delivers more viewers in primetime than any cable network in the U.S. (2.9 million average viewers).
SmackDown LIVE has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.