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Fox Reaches 5 Year $1 Billion Agreement For WWE Smackdown

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  • Fox Reaches 5 Year $1 Billion Agreement For WWE Smackdown

    Fox reaches agreement to air WWE SmackDown Live

    WWE has agreed in principle to make Fox the new home of "SmackDown Live," after the network came to WWE with what sources described as a "massive" offer.

    The Hollywood Reporter reports that the five-year deal has a total value of more than $1 billion.

    Sources said the deal will begin in October 2019, with The Wrap reporting that the show will move to Friday nights on Fox's broadcast channel.

    A representative for WWE declined to comment. A Fox spokesperson could not immediately be reached.

    As first reported by the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, NBC Universal declined its right of first refusal to hit the numbers that WWE proposed on "SmackDown." NBC instead focused its efforts on "Monday Night Raw."

    With live TV viewed as a prized commodity in the era of DVR and on-demand and "SmackDown Live" straddling the worlds of scripted and sports TV, Fox greatly valued the opportunity to pursue one of WWE's signature programs.

    "SmackDown Live," which airs on Tuesdays, has averaged 2.59 million viewers per week in 2018, while "Raw" has averaged about 3 million viewers.

    One of WWE's two weekly live broadcast shows, "SmackDown Live" has aired on NBC Universal networks since October 2010, first calling the SyFy network its home from 2010 to 2015 before debuting on the USA Network in January 2016. Before that, "SmackDown" aired on broadcast TV, starting in 1999 on UPN, followed by runs on the CW and My Network TV.

    "Monday Night Raw" called USA Network home from 1993 to 2000 and returned there in October 2005 -- a run that carries through present day.

    Since Thursday morning, when the Hollywood Reporter broke news of the opening of negotiations, WWE's stock, through 11:30 a.m. ET Monday, was up 19.1 percent.