The SmackDown era on Fox is approaching the end. WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), today announced a new five-year domestic partnership with NBCUniversal. This with new media rights deal, Friday NightSmackDown will return to USA Network for the first time since 2019 beginning in October 2024.
Additionally, WWE has also revealed that they will produce four primetime specials a year that will air on NBC beginning in the 2024/25 season. This marks the first time the company will be on primetime on the network.
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE President Nick Khan. “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.”
“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” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment. “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.”
Currently, WWE’s other programming, Monday Night RAW and WWE NXT air on the USA Network and that will continue into September 2024. According to WWE, RAW is the #2 cable entertainment program in 2023 in the 18-49 demo. WWE NXT (+27%) and WWE Monday Night Raw(+15%) are also up double-digits year-over-year in the target demographic.