After a five-year run on broadcast TV, Friday Night SmackDown is returning to basic cable.
SmackDown is returning to USA Network in October 2024, it was revealed Thursday morning.
Interestingly, WWE will also make four specials that will be reserved for NBC every year.
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” WWE President Nick Khan said in a statement Thursday.
“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.”
Added NBCUniversal Entertainment Chairman Frances Berwick: “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.”
Smackdown has appeared on various networks throughout its tenure, including UPN, The CW, My Network TV, and Syfy.
It will be interesting to hear FOX’s plans for Fridays because the show has been an excellent performer for the network.
There’s a good chance it will be a reality TV-heavy night on the network beginning next fall, but FOX could have plenty of choices.
With so many renewed shows and so little in production due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, there’s a good chance the network will have more content than usual next season.
CBS performs very well with dramas on Fridays, but there is an opening for a buzzy new drama to get all the attention.
USA Network will be happy to have Smackdown back because it was a strong performer before FOX snapped up the rights.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.