As it turns out, WWE SmackDown Live's debut on FOX October 4th won't be the first time WWE programming airs on the network this year.
According to a report from PWInsider, FOX will air a "SmackDown's Greatest Hits" show on Friday, September 27th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. This will be exactly one week before WWE debuts SmackDown on the network.
The broadcast will be a good primer for non-WWE fans who are looking to get into the product before the big debut on October 4th. This type of move is not all that unusual, as TNT recently aired an All Elite Wrestling special prior to All Out a couple of weeks back and before the promotion begins airing on the network.
The first SmackDown on FOX will take place in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center on Friday, October 4th. The show is expected to feature numerous guest appearances from legends of the past as WWE celebrates 20 years of SmackDown.
SmackDown debuted as a weekly prime time television show for WWE in August 1999, airing at the time (and for the first several years) on UPN. Prior to that debut, a pilot episode was held in April 1999. Over the years, SmackDown went on to air on several other networks, including The CW, My Network TV, SyFy Channel, and most recently the USA Network.
The show moving to FOX is a major boon for WWE as the company hasn't had regular programming available on a network with such a large audience reach since the heyday of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC. Even so, Saturday Night's Main Event wasn't a weekly broadcast, while SmackDown will become one of the cornerstones of the FOX network.
While FOX has already started advertising SmackDown's arrival on the network, expect a major push in the weeks ahead during major sporting events, notably with several tie-ins expected during NFL broadcasts.