NBCUniversal May Drop WWE Smackdown Live From Its TV Schedule

Joann Johnston
May 18, 2018

WWE's deal with USA / NBC expires on September 30, 2019, and they are now in an exclusive negotiating period with each other until the end of this spring.

This is mainly because NBCUniversal wants to only keep Raw which will be three times more expensive than the current deal.

This is according to a new write-up from The Hollywood Reporter, who state that NBCUniversal are keen to retain Raw in a deal that could close at up to three times the now contract's value, but will let SmackDown go to open bidding.

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Where does this leave WWE Smackdown Live?

According to Variety, frontrunners for acquiring the rights to SmackDown are FOX, Facebook and Amazon.

NBCU scored rights to Smackdown - the second-longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. TV history - in 2010. Meanwhile SmackDown is being shopped around to other networks. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. Disney and ESPN earlier this month inked their first-ever multiyear deal for digital rights to live UFC Fight Night events in a pact worth $750 million ($150 million annually) starting in January.

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