Fox CEO refers to SmackDown’s spot on Friday nights as ‘short term’

While you don’t want to read too much into a third-hand report of an offhand remark, this is the internet, and that’s kind of what we do.

But in all seriousness, someone like Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier knows that anything he says during a session at the Television Critics Association press tour is going to be analyzed, so it’s not like we’re nitpicking a quote from a cocktail party.

And what he said, especially in light of WWE’s ratings struggles of late, is interesting. While covering Collier’s speech for his report at Gamespot, Chris Hayner tweeted:

The CEO did confirm the show would be live, and largely offered praise for Fox’s new partners at WWE, “It’s live, and what’s remarkable [is] these are people that know their audience. They’re great storytellers and I think it fits beautifully with what we’re doing.”

He also said that other WWE programming is coming to Fox’s cable sports networks, which is in line with rumors that NXT could land on FS1 at some point:

“The Fox sports networks, FS1, and others, will have some other wrestling--not live Smackdown, not Raw, but other ties to the WWE world.”

That’s good news, right? More exposure for any of the brand’s “below” the main roster should help the men and women who work those shows, and I doubt WWE will want to tinker with the formula if it’s what got Fox interested in running them anyway.

Back to the “short term” bit, though. Moving to Fridays will already require WWE to change up their traveling schedule (currently, the Raw crew runs house shows from Friday - Sunday, tapes Monday and then has three days off while the SmackDown team does non-televised live events Saturday - Monday, films on Tuesday and gets a break). Triple H has already spoken on what an undertaking that change is; now imagine having to execute another one on the fly because Fox wants to move their night.

And if WWE doesn’t deliver the numbers Fox wants, it sounds like they could opt to go back to their Tim Allen-anchored comedy block. Broadcast networks move shows around fairly regularly - something WWE isn’t accustomed to. While SmackDown has switched nights in its history, it’s almost always been taped on Tuesdays (the show was pre-taped and aired on several days delay throughout its existence before moving to USA in 2016).

The flip side of that is, if SmackDown overperforms expectations on Fridays - which doesn’t seem likely right now, but who knows what the future holds, or what Fox’s specific expectations are for their new billion dollar investment - they could move to a more important night of the week for advertisers. It presents the same logistical problems for WWE, but is better for everyone’s bottom line in the long run.

The fun starts when SmackDown starts airing on Fox Fridays in October of this year... for a while, anyway.

Comments

Wasn't the talk that there'd be recap/magazine-type shows on FS1?

"what’s remarkable [is] these are people that know their audience. They’re great storytellers "

You really think that he’d say

The stories are as consistent in quality as pidgeon shit in Times Square

They’d keep it live on Fridays and just move it to FS1 or some other FOX spinoff

Not since they are paying 1 Billion dollars

They would move it to another night, not a smaller network, where they don’t stand a chance of making back a fraction of that money.

they will find out that people prefer the live TV shows after PPVs to be

Tuesday or Wednesday ( not Mondays since RAW will have Mondays )

so I can see Fox either keeping Smacks on Fridays most weeks except after PPVs when the show would be most Probably Tuesday or make it simpler and make all smacks on Tuesday again

I have a feeling when the switch finally happens

They’ll market Raw as the "only" big post-ppv show, and Smackdown as the "last stop," big final show before the ppv weekend.

How will that work with a brand split still in effect?

PPVs are cobranded

So it makes sense for the go home to be on broadcast TV (bigger audience to hype up the show) with the fallout on RAW.

Exactly my point

They’re co-branded PPVs. So… only Raw is going to get a fallout show, and only SD is going to get a go-home show?

How is that going to work? They’re separate rosters.

Both will have fallout and Go Home shows.

The good thing for Smackdown is that it will air only two days before the PPV. The good thing for Raw is that it will air the day after the PPV.

They're separate rosters but the biggest stars will float between shows more often once SD is on Fox

Cena, Rousey, Reigns when he returns, etc.

Becky Lynch was on RAW and SD this week – there’s nothing stopping them from having the performers with big PPV matches coming up appear on both shows. They’ve done it with Survivor Series the last couple of years.

Actually

FS1 is offered on more cable, satellite, and streaming services than even ESPN. The streaming services is the kicker here.

WWE may have a clause that prevents Fox from streaming WWE programming… and they may not. If they don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised to see SDL on FS1 if the numbers continue to dwindle for the show.

There may be a short-term on demand stream available (like up to 30 days past the air date)

But eventually all of that content is getting ported over to WWE Network.

Oh I don't doubt it....

but I do think that WWE needs to pay attention to a college network… The LongHorn Network. They tried to do their own thing to earn money… much like WWE has done and Disney/ABC is about to attempt to do. The LHN was bleeding the University of Texas dry. It’s costing way much more than anticipated, and the amount of subscribers has continually dwindled down. Now, the LHN is under the ESPN umbrella due to financial reasons. And it is still hemorrhaging ESPN, to the point that rumors in college sports believe that when the conference expansions come around again, the University of Texas will either join the SEC or the Pac-12… solely for financial security alone.

How does this relate to WWE? WWE is on that slippery slope to falling into the same trap. It’s principle content, Raw and SDL, are continually getting worse. It will ultimately be up to the fans for them to decide of nXt alone is worth the network fee.

I’m guessing this means testing how Friday goes

Then taking that into account for its slot. That other programs I hope include FS1 NXT so people can see it

No matter what, I'm just counting the days...

…‘til we all get to enjoy the "dragged kicking and screaming" undertone of Joe Buck’s obligatory ad reads for Smackdown Live during baseball and football games.

Joe Buck is awful.

Be fair to Joe

You’re only saying that because it’s true.

Joe Buck can still be good at times. The problem is that he has over-extended himself with too many games (sports).
Thom Brennaman needs some of those gigs.

Stay away from Thom

He calls my Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio and it shall stay that way!

With the current ratings, all spots are gonna be short term lol

Short term, from Fox to FS1

Where I’m sure Fox has some sort of bailout clause that lets them abandon ship if ratings fall too low.

I highly doubt Fox would move Smackdown to FS1 at $205 million per year

They’d bump it to a better night of the week to get a bigger share of views.

I don’t think they mean that SDL will be on FOX "short term". I think they mean that devoting the prime Friday time-slot to WWE may be a short term thing. They said in the quote that Fridays would be for WWE. They may decide sometime down the road to add something else to Friday that isn’t WWE related.

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