WWE SmackDown Potentially Moving Away From FOX

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WWE SmackDown may need to look for a new home when the current deal expires.

Judging by the recent actions of FOX, it looks like the network does not have a large interest in renewing the Friday night show for another 5 years.

As reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the latest intent that FOX wants to move away from wrestling is that they have chosen to cancel the “Out of Character with Ryan Satin” podcast, which would see starts from the main roster and NXT appear every week. The show ran for 126 episodes in total.

It is believed that despite the blue brand consistently bringing in good ratings for the network, the deal is not cost-effective at the current price and WWE will be asking for even more in 2024. It is reported that the current deal is $205 million a year and the company is expected to charge around $310 million a year for the next cycle. It is also noted that ad rates are considerably lower when SmackDown is broadcast due to the stigma associated with wrestling fans.

Raw and NXT are expected to stay on their current network of USA while SmackDown may go to FX or ABC. There are discussions that the show might go to Amazon, who would likely charge more for the show, but ratings would suffer in the long run.

When Did WWE SmackDown Move To FOX?

It was announced that FOX would be the home to Friday night wrestling from October 4th 2019 as part of a 5-year deal that would cost the network more than $1 billion by the time the agreement had ended. The show would be newsworthy right from the off with an appearance from The Rock and ending with Brock Lesnar becoming the new WWE Champion after squashing Kofi Kingson in 8 seconds. Making the show memorable right up to the closing shot, the show would go off the air with Lesnar being confronted by former UFC opponent Cain Velasquez.