The WWE and USA Network have reached a new deal that is set to return World Wrestling Entertainment’s iconic show, SmackDown, to the network. The deal is estimated to be worth more than $1.4 billion and could last up to five years.
Under the new agreement, USA Network will be the exclusive home for WWE’s weekly flagship program, SmackDown. The show will move back to Friday nights beginning in October 2019, where it had aired for nearly a decade prior to moving to Tuesday nights on the SyFy channel in October of 2015.
The return to USA Network signals the beginning of a long-term agreement for the SmackDown brand and gives WWE fans unprecedented access to coverage of WWE’s programming throughout the week. This new agreement not only includes SmackDown returning to Friday nights on USA Network, but there will also be a half-hour version of the show made available on USA Network’s sister network, NBC.
In addition, NBCUniversal will now be responsible for distributing the pay-per view events worldwide. WWE is also committed to producing original video content for NBCUniversal platforms, such as Peacock, the soon-to-be streaming service.
The two also announced a partnership to produce a new series, “WWE 365”, which will follow WWE Superstars and document their lives behind the scenes.
The agreement also includes a new streaming service, WWE Network, that will be available through NBCUniversal’s subscription video services in the US and internationally. It will be the exclusive home for the WWE’s pay-per-view events, as well as be made available on a variety of digital platforms.
Overall, the new five-year agreement signals a renewed commitment between the WWE and NBCUniversal and provides fans with unprecedented access to WWE content throughout the week.