Big news from WWE via Variety: SmackDown will move to Tuesday nights beginning on July 19 and air live each and every week at 8/7 C on the USA Network.
In the midst of the usual industry talk about live programming being the only way television networks can combat DVRs and cord-cutters, the Variety article also answers a couple of fan questions when it reveals the move is to accommodate a growing roster and will include a return of the brand split:
The debut of a live SmackDown comes as two of the WWE’s biggest attractions, John Cena and Seth Rollins, are returning to competition from injuries. And the company is expected to create strong points of differentiation between SmackDown and USA’s other live program, Monday Night Raw, according to the WWE. A draft will be held before the SmackDown launch date to determine which wrestlers on the company’s talent roster will be assigned to which program. Each show is expected to feature separate cast, plots and writing teams.
There is a quote from Vince McMahon:
WWE’s flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV. This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around the world.
Here is WWE’s official announcement:
SmackDown going live on USA Network on a new night with distinct roster starting July 19
A SmackDown shakeup is about to completely reshape all of WWE. Beginning July 19, the second longest-running weekly episodic program in television history, SmackDown, will move from Thursday to Tuesday nights and air LIVE each and every week — for the first time ever — at 8/7 C on USA Network, the exclusive cable home to WWE’s marquee properties.
This bold move will have major ramifications for all of WWE and exemplify the New Era, as both Raw and SmackDown will each feature their own unique rosters and rivalries following an imminent Superstar draft.
“WWE’s flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV,” WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon said. “This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around the world.”
Shane and Stephanie McMahon announce that SmackDown and the WWE Superstars of the New Era will go live on Tuesday nights, beginning July 19 on the USA Network.
With so many explosive competitors emerging from WWE NXT, and top Superstars like John Cena and Seth Rollins returning from injury, WWE’s star-powered roster has never been stronger. Its historic division and the monumental revelation of SmackDown’s shift to a live format each week reflect the excitement and unpredictability of WWE’s New Era.
What awaits SmackDown on its new night, starting this July? Which live shows will claim your favorite Superstars? What will this all mean for the future of sports-entertainment? Stay tuned as WWE prepares to get shaken up like never before.