Despite WWE SmackDown's move to FOX later this year being one of the biggest business deals in the history of the company, some of the more intimate details of the move are still somewhat scarce.
As of right now, SmackDown is scheduled to air on Friday nights. It's not clear what this will mean for WWE's touring schedule. Will the show air live on Fridays and production of the show move from Tuesday to Friday? That could seemingly cause some logistical problems on PPV weekends.
On the contrary, the show could be taped on Tuesday nights and air on a three day tape delay, though we're not sure what FOX would think about such a move with spoilers undoubtedly leaking out.
Then there's the fact that FOX Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier called SmackDown's move to Friday nights "short term" during an interview in February, though we have not had any further clarification on his comments since that time.
A new report from F4WOnline suggests some new information on SmackDown on FOX, including one surprising caveat: WWE is reportedly considering adding a third hour to the show.
The addition of a third hour to RAW in recent years has pretty much universally been panned creatively within the wrestling industry, as a show that is so long, weekly, is hard to pen creatively and has undoubtedly lead to some not-so-exciting editions of the show over the years. However, from a monetary standpoint, it's to WWE's benefit to have that third hour of RAW as it nets the company an extra several million dollars in revenue annually.
The addition of a third hour of Friday night programming would reportedly result in WWE gaining an additional $50 million from FOX annually. According to Dave Meltzer, though, this third hour would air on a separate FOX network, so it wouldn't be like RAW on Monday nights where the three hours are continuous on the USA Network.2comments
Meltzer reports that the discussion surrounds 205 Live, noting that the show has not grown to the level WWE has hoped yet they continue to film it immediately after SmackDown goes off the air. The thought process is that if they are filming during that time frame anyway, that third hour of programming could air on the FS1 network.
One of the reasons for this discussion on FOX's behalf, according to Meltzer, is the loss of UFC programming to ESPN. If the network still had the rights to UFC, there probably would not be the push for more WWE programming, but with UFC leaving the network, adding an extra hour of WWE programming could potentially be a way to counter their UFC losses.