About a week after NBC Universal tapped out and elected not to renew its deal to air WWE’s SmackDown LIVE, Fox reportedly has stepped into the ring to pin down the long-running wrestling series.
NBCU reportedly freed up the franchise earlier this month, choosing to instead focus on keeping RAW in the house. (NBU purchased rights to SmackDown in 2010, first airing it on Syfy and then USA Network, since May 2016.)
The Wrap and ESPN are both reporting that Fox stepped up with a “massive” offer (per ESPN) to offer SmackDown a new home, starting in October 2019; neither WWE nor Fox have officially commented on the reports.
Fox entertainment CEO Dana Walden said in January that once Disney’s $52 billion purchase of multiple Fox assets not including the broadcast network shakes out, “80 percent” of the programming on the network “will be live and sports,” with the balance filled out by entertainment programming.