Smackdown leaving The CW
Smackdown will be leaving The CW at the end of the 2007-08 broadcast season, according to a news release issued by WWE late last night.
WWE stated in the release that The CW’s exclusive negotiation period expired on Jan. 31, and the two parties have agreed to conclude their partnership. The release also said that WWE has been in talks with other networks about Smackdown, which debuted on UPN in 1999 and in September 2006 moved to The CW, where it was consistently one of the network’s highest-rated shows.
Smackdown, while considered to be WWE’s “B” show, still is a key element of the company. Where the show ends up will have a major impact on WWE’s business.
There were reports on entertainment trade Web sites last night that MyNetworkTV is a possible destination for Smackdown. If that were to happen, I think it would be a big step down for WWE.
If Smackdown became part of WWE’s deal with NBC Universal, perhaps the show could find a home on USA Network, which would be the best-case scenario, or Sci Fi Channel.
Here’s my idea: Since Smackdown and ECW already share talent and both shows take place at the same venue, reduce Smackdown to a one-hour program and air it and ECW back-to-back on Sci Fi Channel. Or maybe WWE could do 90 minutes of Smackdown and 30 minutes of ECW.