Deeper Dive: SmackDown Goes To Fox
Hopefully by now you’ve all heard the news that, as of late 2019, SmackDown is moving from USA to Fox. While the details are still yet to come for much of the news, we can still speculate and debate. What we do know is that Fox is spending big-205 million dollars per year-to bring the blue brand show to it’s network. For that kind of coin, what we do not know is what night, what channel or what changes could be coming. And that’s where we come in! Let’s take our time and see what might be in store for the WWE’s second show when it changes channels next year.
Well, with RAW and SmackDown on USA, it made life easier for me. I will miss that. I have to assume with the change that Fox wants the show on it’s flagship FS1 network…but what if they don’t? As in, what if WWE and Fox decided to put the show on an over-the-air channel, not unlike the NFL? Now, while that seems kind of very crazy, it might not be. The wrestling and vignettes are generally tame enough that they could probably pull off network TV without a hitch. The real appeal though, is the ad revenue. On an OTA Fox channel, they could likely charge more for ads and things of that nature.
As in…what night? What roster? New set? Longer show? There are plenty of potential changes, so let’s tackle a few. So, first of is the schedule-specifically, will it stay on Tuesdays? Logistically, you’d think so, especially if WWE has a say in the matter due to crew travel and such. However, early rumblings have pointed to a Friday possibility. Could or would the show go longer? I suppose that is also a possibility, but I think two hours is the sweet spot. Another one I’ve heard is that the show may drop the “live” part from it’s name. While taping it would possibly ease logistical concerns on WWE’s side of things, I doubt that Fox is paying a couple hundred million dollars a year for a taped show every week. My thinking here is, whatever logistical issues there might be will be worked out, and wherever the show lands, it will be live. Given the money involved, having Fox push for three hours wouldn’t surprise me either. And. when thinking of the roster and big names, I would not at all be surprised to see if we get a new figurehead attached to the show around that time, or some bigger name surprises in the first month or two-just to make sure fans tune in.
Something else to ponder…but with the brands being on different channels in the future, would there be less cross-promotion? Would we get more of a brand split, something that we were getting less and less of in recent months, ahead of the formal decision to eliminate brand-specific PPV events? The television split could actually bring a chance for a new and different split, though it’s too soon to tell.
But, for now, this is all a wild guessing game. We can make some educated guesses, as in there’s a chance we might get a new SmackDown set, as has happened before…but with the sets being fairly similar now, maybe not. We can be sure that between now and next Fall, when the show makes the jump from USA to Fox, the executives on both sides of the deal will spend plenty of time deliberating these questions and so many more. As a wrestling fan, my hope is that they do not change things just for the sake of change. While changes may be inevitable, here’s to hoping these are good and productive changes.
WNZ readers, what changes are you hoping for or expecting out of the change to Fox? What changes are you hoping to not see?