USA Network Officially Announces WWE Smackdown Premiere Date
If WWE didn’t already have its own over-the-top streaming network online, you could be forgiven for thinking that USA Network was becoming “The WWE Channel”. Earlier this year, the network aired a revived version of WWE’s reality competition series, Tough Enough, in addition to airing the broadcast version of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony during Wrestlemania season. This is without mentioning the three full hours of Raw they air every Monday night.
And now, USA Network is adding WWE Smackdown to its lineup. The show, taped every Tuesday night, is moving from its home on Syfy, remaining on Thursday nights at 8/7c. It’s a move that’s been a long time in coming, considering what an uncomfortable fit Smackdown was on Syfy. From the official press release:
USA Network will have a white hot January with the grand arrival of the two-hour live action WWE powerhouse SMACKDOWN on Thursday, January 7 at 8/7c. The winter continues to heat up with the return of the critically acclaimed drama SUITS, which picks up from the intense cliff hanger on Wednesday, January 27 at 10/9c. The network will also premiere the previously announced epic drama COLONY, from executive producers Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and Ryan Condal (“Hercules”), on Thursday, January 14 at 10/9c.
With the arrival of SMACKDOWN on Thursday, January 7 @ 8/7c, USA becomes the exclusive cable home to WWE’s two marquee properties. Viewers can now bookend their week with MONDAY NIGHT RAW live on Mondays from 8-11p and SMACKDOWNon Thursdays from 8-10p. Consistently one of the highest-rated weekly series on cable, over the past 15 years SMACKDOWN has been broadcast from 170 different venues, in 148 cities and towns and in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico. On January 7, SMACKDOWN will air its 855th episode from Laredo, Texas.
So there ya have it. Smackdown hits USA Network on January 7th, just in time for Wrestlemania season to get kicked into high gear as the build for the Royal Rumble intensifies. Here’s hoping the show starts becoming an actual priority for the WWE creative team now, and not just a throwaway show for impromptu six-man tags and Raw rematches.
What do you think of how Smackdown is booked these days? Better as a pure wrestling show or worse for its lack of story advancement? And will the move to USA be good for the show? Sound off in the comments!