As part of the incredibly lucrative, multi-year contract WWE signed earlier this year, Smackdown Live will begin airing on FOX’s flagship network in Oct. 2019.
Because of the big move to cable television, the blue brand will be changing nights from live on Tuesdays to live on Fridays. In most cases a show being moved to the “Friday night death slot” is the final step being cancellation, but with such an important deal you can bet FOX is very strategically placing its new two-hour gem.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, one idea the network is considering is to create a four-day sports block. FOX already has great numbers as the exclusive broadcast partner for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, and on the weekends there’s college football and the NFL respectively.
With Smackdown moving to Fridays it would give them four straight days with major content to promote, and according to the Observer’s report, FOX wants to present Smackdown as a more sports-oriented product once their deal with WWE goes into place.
The goal would of course be in cross-promotion, beyond commercials but actually using their broadcasters during games to promote Smackdown, but it’s harder to do that with the more comedic style of wrestling WWE often presents.
It’s unclear exactly what kinds of changes FOX or WWE may make to the product, but one idea could be to allow Triple H to take over the show from a creative standpoint.
While the weekly NXT show does feature a lot of segments and stories, the brand is often more focussed on presenting a superior in-ring product based around more dramatic stories than are generally told on the “main roster”. 205 Live has also seen a major change in its presentation as more serious, hard-hitting competition since Triple H took over the show.