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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
NEWSFLASH: SmackDown Gets a New Home
April 13, 2010

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

In a move that was destined to happen sooner rather than later, WWE has announced that SmackDown is leaving MyNetworkTV at the conclusion of its current contract this coming fall.
 
MyTV ceased to be anything resembling a TV network last autumn, and reclassified itself as a syndication package comprised of entirely second-run programming (with the lone exception of WWE on Friday nights). 
 

MyTV's market penetration peaked two years ago at about 85% (meaning it was available in 85% of TV households), which is actually lower than the current penetration by cable/satellite. That penetration, however, included a lot of digital sub-channels and secondary affiliations, so that figure didn't really represent MyTV's true visibility/accessibility.
 
With last year's reclassification to a syndication package, that penetration dropped even further, and WWE desperately wanted to be off that sinking ship. They were, however, hamstrung by their contract with NBC/Universal (owners of USA Network and SyFy), which prevented WWE from placing programming on any other cable network outside of the NBCU umbrella. WWE could only negotiate with over-the-air networks (CBS, ABC, FOX, etc., none of which were interested in WWE programming for prime time), or local stations (including "superstations" like WGN).
 
MyTV was the only choice back in 2008, so WWE took it. And now, they're finally gonna get to un-do that mistake.
 
The terms of WWE's contract with NBCU are still in place, but NBCU has decided to open up another timeslot for WWE: SyFy will be the new home for SmackDown beginning in October. By moving to SyFy, SD's market penetration will jump substantially (it'll be available in 90% of US homes), which is good. Even better for WWE: NBCU is actually going to be paying handsomely to acquire the rights to SD... MyTV agreed to pay $20 million per year in 2008, but NBCU will be sending an additional $30m WWE's way in exchange for SD. Cha-ching?
 
Although today's press release indicates that SmackDown will stay on Fridays, the word within WWE is that nothing is set in stone, pending further talks with WGN (home of Thursday's "Superstars" show) and SyFy, with at least a POSSIBILITY of SmackDown returning to its original Thursday night slot on SyFy. Personally, I would LOVE for SD to go back to Thursdays, where it might almost regain status as "destination viewing," instead of being DVR'd in its Friday slot and watched at some point in the next 2-3 days.
 
But maybe that's just me.
 
For now, the plan is just for SD to begin Fridays on SyFy, with SyFy's Friday shows moving to Tuesdays. NXT is then removed from the SyFy schedule... BUT....
 
Discussions will be had regarding the future of NXT and all-around scheduling. One idea being tossed around is pulling "Superstars" and replacing it on WGN with NXT (makes sense to me, given how utterly worthless Superstars is). Then there could also be further talks with WGN about keeping NXT in a Tuesday slot, opening up Thursdays for SyFy to move SD there. A lot of "ifs," but to me, this would be the ideal outcome.
 
We'll see how it all works out, and though I doubt there will be any hugely-important breaking developments on this story, we're sure to be talking about it as the year goes on and we approach the October switchover. Stay, as they say, tuned....
 


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 


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