— TKO and WWE have jointly announced that Friday Night SmackDown is set to make its return to the USA Network through a new five-year agreement scheduled to begin in the fall of 2024, coinciding with the expiration of WWE’s current deal with FOX. As a significant aspect of this agreement, WWE will additionally create and broadcast four network specials exclusively on NBC. It’s important to note that this arrangement exclusively covers Friday Night SmackDown and does not encompass either Raw or NXT, both of which will continue to air on the USA Network until at least September 2024.
SMACKDOWN RETURNS TO USA NETWORK AS PART OF FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT BETWEEN WWE AND NBCUNIVERSAL
WWE to Make NBC Primetime Debut with Launch of Four Network Specials
STAMFORD, Conn., Sep. 21, 2023 – WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO), and NBCUniversal have agreed to a five-year domestic media rights partnership that will bring Friday Night SmackDown back to USA Network beginning October 2024. Additionally, beginning in the 2024/25 season, WWE will produce four primetime specials per year that will air on NBC, marking the first time WWE will air on the network in primetime.
SmackDown will come exclusively to NBCU as one of television’s longest-running programs, regularly rating as the No. 1 show in the 18-49 advertising demographic on Friday nights and featuring many WWE Superstars including John Cena, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Rey Mysterio.
“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE President Nick Khan. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership” said Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
As part of WWE and NBCUniversal’s longstanding relationship, USA Network is currently home to WWE NXT and WWE Monday Night Raw, which is the #2 cable entertainment program in 2023 in the 18-49 demo. Demonstrating the deeply engaged WWE audience on USA, WWE NXT (+27%) and WWE Monday Night Raw (+15%) are up double-digits year-over-year in the target demographic. WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT will continue to air on USA Network through September 2024.
In addition, since 2021, Peacock has been the exclusive home of WWE Network in the U.S. where Peacock subscribers can stream thousands of hours of on-demand programming from WWE including original series, groundbreaking documentaries, fan-favorite shows from the WWE archives, and premium live events like WrestleMania, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Summer Slam, and more. WWE continues to drive high engagement on the platform, with this April’s WrestleMania 39 livestream delivering a record-breaking weekend for Peacock as its highest weekend usage to-date.
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WWE, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), is an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly entertainment on its television programming, premium live events, digital media, and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG programming can be seen in more than 1 billion homes worldwide in 25 languages through world-class distribution partners including NBCUniversal, FOX Sports, TNT Sport, Sony India and Rogers. The award-winning WWE Network includes all premium live events, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library and is currently available in approximately 165 countries. In the United States, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, is the exclusive home to WWE Network. Additional information on WWE can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com.
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. We create world-class content, which we distribute across our portfolio of film, television, and streaming, and bring to life through our theme parks and consumer experiences. We own and operate leading entertainment and news brands, including NBC, NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, Telemundo, NBC Local Stations, Bravo, USA Network, and Peacock, our premium ad-supported streaming service. We produce and distribute premier filmed entertainment and programming through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Universal Studio Group, and have world-renowned theme parks and attractions through Universal Destinations & Experiences. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) is a premium sports and entertainment company that comprises UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment. Together, our organizations reach more than 1 billion TV households in approximately 170 countries, and we organize more than 350 live events year-round, attracting over one million fans. TKO is majority owned by Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR), a global sports and entertainment company.