WWE “Friday Night Smackdown” is moving back to USA Network next year from Fox Television Network, as part of a reported five-year, $1.4 billion deal between TKO Holdings Group and NBCUniversal.
This works out to $287 million per year -- some 40% higher than the $205 million per year Fox has been paying to carry the show since October 2019, according to CNBC.
WWE will also produce four prime-time specials for the NBC broadcast network.
TKO Holdings Group is a recent new public company entity owned by WWE, created after the recent merger between WWE and Endeavor. On the day of the announcement of the NBCUniversal deal, TKO Holdings stock price dropped 14%.
The two-hour Friday “WWE Smackdown” most recently averaged 2.6 million Nielsen-measured viewers.
The show has been around since 1999 first on UPN, then on The CW, Syfy, Mun2/Universo, and USA Network. USA had the show from 2016 to 2019.USA Network originally started up with wrestling production company’s “Monday Night Raw back” in 1994.
During its 24-year run it earned some of its biggest ratings on UPN, from 2004-2005, it averaged 5.1 million viewers.
Fox has seen national TV advertising revenues for the show declining -- estimated to be $53.9 million from September 2022-September 2023, according to EDO Ad EnGage.
Big spending brands who bought the show recently: Progressive Insurance, Peacock, DoorDash, Kay Jewelers, Sony Pictures, Papa John’s, GlaxoSmithKline,Dominos, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s.
Over the same period the year before (September 2021-September 2022) the show pulled in $106 million. September 2020 to September 2021 totalled $113.9 million.