You’re going to have to remember to change the channel to see SmackDown Live and do it on another night, but not for about 16 months.
After Fox swooped in and paid WWE big money for the right to broadcast SmackDown Live, the only question was when the show would premiere in its new home.
We know now, as Deadline reports that SmackDown Live will make its debut on Fox on Oct. 4, 2019. That’s a Friday, which will be the new night for the WWE’s “blue brand” starting next fall — though not completely new to fans, who remember that the show aired on Friday nights for nearly a decade from the fall of 2005 to early 2015.
The move makes perfect sense as Friday is a problematic night for broadcast networks, which regularly struggle to find anything to air in prime time that will actually draw viewers. WWE programming, while not at its heady peaks of the late ’90s and early 2000s, is a reliable way to deliver eyeballs to advertisers, and fans have shown that they will follow it anywhere on the dial and to any night.
What’s kind of a big deal, even in the fractured media landscape that exists nearly 20 years into the 21st century, is that SmackDown will air on broadcast TV.
“We are thrilled to welcome WWE to the Fox Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television,” Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer of Fox Sports, said in a press release. “We are huge fans and know that together Fox Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
It will also be interesting to see how integrated the show is with Fox Sports, which will undoubtedly put on a full court press to promote it. In other words, if you’ve always wanted to hear Joe Buck talk about the Bludgeon Brothers taking on the Usos during the NFL Game of the Week, you’re going to get your chance next fall.