Arts&Culture

SmackDown Live Possibly Leaving The USA Network Soon

SmackDown Live Possibly Leaving The USA Network Soon

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

Sporting News' Michael McCarthy reported in March that Fox was looking to acquire the rights for Raw and SmackDown Live, with Raw potentially airing on network television and SmackDown Live going to FS1. SmackDown has only aired on U.S. for about two years, moving over on January 7, 2016.

It has been long rumored that FOX had been looking to acquire both WWE RAW and WWE Smackdown once the wrestling company's current contract expires. WWE has talked with the USA Network, FOX, Disney, CBS, Amazon, and YouTube.

For this latest cycle, early reports indicate that WWE's outlook could be very, very different.

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The Hollywood Reporter reports that WWE SmackDown is now being shopped around to various networks as NBCUniversal has declined to renew the deal for the USA Network. NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the still-ongoing negotiation. It marked the first time that the top three shows were broadcast on the same network.

Monday Night Raw has only aired on two networks in its 25-year history.

The Fox connection has been in the conversation for months now with there even being rumor and innuendo that Fox could try to buy WWE outright. Back in 2012, Major League Baseball, Fox Sports Media Group and Turner Broadcasting entered an eight-year national media rights deal for postseason games said to be worth $12.4 billion. By airing on broadcast television every week, WWE could be motivated to stack SmackDown as much as possible.