In early 2018, Fox announced a deal with WWE to get the TV rights to its Tuesday night programming, Smackdown Live. The agreement, which cost Fox a reported $1 billion for five years, will kick off this October, but one question WWE fans have had was, “Will Smackdown continue to air live?”
There is official confirmation now about the fate of Smackdown in late 2019. “It’s live, and what’s remarkable [is] these are people that know their audience,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier explained during the Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour. “They’re great storytellers and I think it fits beautifully with what we’re doing.”
While Smackdown is coming to Fox, there is more WWE content planned for this new partnership, treating wrestling more as a sport than a weekly, episode TV series. “The Fox sports networks, FS1, and others, will have some other wrestling–not live Smackdown, not Raw, but other ties to the WWE world.”
As to what programming Fox plans on delving into is a mystery at this point, but considering FS1’s current content, it’s reasonable to speculate that there will be recap shows as well as talking head series where we get an editorial experience about WWE programming, something the WWE Network has attempted to deliver.
Currently, Smackdown is airing on Tuesday evenings on USA, and the stories are all pointing to the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania. WWE’s premiere PPV will be coming to the WWE Network on Sunday, April 7, as well as through cable and satellite providers.