The L.A. Times' entertainment news blog is reporting that WWE Smackdown will, after 11 years on lower tier broadcast networks, be moving from My Network TV to cable's Syfy (the former Sci-Fi Channel, currently the home of WWE NXT) this fall. The deal will officially be announced later this week. The show will stay in its Friday night timeslot, which is a mistake, since Thursday is the most watched night of TV in the US.
The Times story says that MNTV was paying WWE about $20 million annually, and puts the price of the new deal at about $30 million. Dave Meltzer says that those numbers sound wrong, as The CW, where Smackdown aired before moving to MNTV, was paying $36.4 million per year, and he figures that a $16.4 million cut in TV rights fees would have been clear from WWE's annual reports. Syfy is in 13 million (about 12%) less homes than MNTV, so this is definitely a step backwards, but it was inevitable with MNTV imploding, and it's better than WGN, which was considered one of the leading contenders for awhile. If Smackdown moving to the USA Network was the best case scenario, albeit unlikely, then this isn't too far off. Really, who else could you expect to take them at this point?