Friday Night SmackDown is moving back to USA Network next year after the WWE and NBCUniversal finalized a five-year domestic media rights partnership to air matches on USA Network and Peacock starting in October 2024.
Smackdown is one of NBCUniversal’s longest-running programs and regularly rates as a top hit with audiences ages 18 to 49 on Friday nights, featuring WWE favorites such as John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio.
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” Nick Khan, WWE president, said after the deal was struck on September 21. “We are excited to extend this long standing relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”
The move consolidates WWE’s professional wrestling programming on a single network, with USA Network already home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw, programs that have seen a double-digit rise in viewership year-over-year, and years in which Smackdown aired on Fox. This also comes amid a big transformation for WWE, which merged with the UFC to form a new company
WWE confirmed in a statement that in addition to broadcasting and streaming live matches, the brand will also produce four primetime specials every year to air on NBC, branching out into the primetime slot on the network for the first time.
“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 of 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.”
Neither the WWE nor NBCUniversal were immediately available for comment on what these specials have in store for fans.
Since 2021, Peacock has offered an extensive catalog of WWE content, including thousands of hours of on-demand programs such as original series, documentaries, and WWE archives hosting fan-favorite matches and live events. Check out the WWE hub on Peacock to stream live events such as Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam, to name a few.
Following the merger of the WWE and UFC into TKO, the brand is taking a step away from its years-long relationship with Fox. WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw will continue to air on USA Network through September 2024.