After five years on Fox, Friday Night SmackDown is returning to the USA Network.
In October 2024, SmackDown will leave Fox as part of a new deal with NBCUniversal. It also includes WWE producing four annual specials for NBC and serves as the first time WWE content will air during NBC‘s primetime slot.
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” WWE President Nick Khan said in a statement. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”
NBCUniversal Entertainment Chairman Frances Berwick added: “It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE, which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership. With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
The USA Network is presently the broadcasting hub for WWE’s Monday Night RAW and WWE NXT on Tuesday nights, with their tenure on the network set to extend until September 2024. Since its inception in 1999, SmackDown has found its home on various networks, including UPN (1999-2006), The CW (2006-2008), MyNetwork (2008-2010), Syfy (2010-2016), USA Network (2016-2019), and, most recently, Fox (2019—), where it is scheduled to continue airing until September 2024.
Recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena returned to the squared circle on September 15 amid the ongoing writers and actors strike.
According to Deadline, The Rock’s appearance on Fox’s Friday Night SmackDown had a significant impact, drawing in 2.6 million viewers, marking a 23% increase compared to the previous week’s audience. Compared to a year ago, the viewership saw a 16% rise.
The Rock’s presence also resulted in a notable improvement in the 18-49 age group demographic, elevating Friday Night SmackDown’s rating to 0.7, equivalent to approximately 918,000 viewers in that age bracket. This represents a remarkable 33% week-over-week increase and a substantial 40% rise compared to the same period last year.
WWE SmackDown, Fridays, check your local listings