WWE 'Smackdown' Up for Grabs as NBCUniversal Moves to Pin Down 'Raw'

WWE 'Smackdown' Up for Grabs as NBCUniversal Moves to Pin Down 'Raw'

- WWE could be seeing its shows split between networks as it works to negotiate new television deals, according to a new report. WWE will seek a new home for Smackdown on the open market, effectively splitting their programming. The show began airing that year on Syfy, with corporate sibling United States of America heavily promoting it. SmackDown moved full time to U.S. in January 2016, as the cable network home to Mr. Robot and The Sinner aired all three WWE shows: SmackDown, Raw and Tough Enough.

WWE's current NBCU deal generated $180 million for the 2017 year, but that also included rights to Smackdown Live.

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NBCUniversal is willing to lose the television rights to SmackDown Live while maintaining its relationship with WWE to air Raw on USA Network, The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni reported Wednesday. Vince McMahon has always said that he would prefer the show to be shorter than 3 hours (preferably 90 minutes) but they extended to 3 hours at the request of the USA Network.

This is a huge story and we'll post updates when they become available.

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Live sports (and sports entertainment) bring a marquee value in the current television landscape because it is much more likely to garner most of its audience immediately and not via time-shifted/DVR viewing or SVOD platforms. Big sports opportunity for another network. NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the still-ongoing negotiation.

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