It’s a big week for WWE as Smackdown will officially move to the USA Network on Thursday at 8/7c.
“WWE is proud to have SmackDown join Raw as part of our expanded partnership with USA Network,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. “The combination of the No. 1 cable network and two ratings juggernauts provides a destination for our viewers and an extraordinary platform for our partners.”
Dot com hypes the move at this link.
We’re expecting one of the strongest episodes of Smackdown of the year and anticipating a turnaround for the series. Smackdown was considered a “lame duck” show for the latter part of 2015 and a reset is in order as WWE looks to make the show must-see television.
The show will continue to air from tape and will be filmed on Tuesday from the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas. John Cena is advertised, along with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Dean Ambrose, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler and The Wyatt Family.
As for Smackdown going live on the USA Network, such a move would likely require a move from Thursdays to Tuesdays. We’re told WWE will be paying close attention to TNA’s viewership numbers for Impact Wrestling on Tuesdays to gauge what the cable audience is like on Tuesday. The reason Smackdown would move would be so WWE could continue to run TV on consecutive days, a more cost effective move than having an off day. The USA Network would have to be convinced to switch the day.
However, let us be clear, there is no such plan for Smackdown to go live at this time. It will continue to air from tape for now but such a move isn’t off the table. We have more for WNW Premium Members at this link.