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USA Network is courting millenials and advertisers with WWE Smackdown and Tough Enough announcements


More details are coming out about yesterday's announcement of a new version of Tough Enough debuting this Summer and the surprising move of Smackdown from SyFy to USA Network next yearVariety has a full report from the press function where USA Network president Chris McCumber talked about the NBC Universal channel's strategy and where WWE plays into it.

USA is moving away from their current formula of one hour dramas in an effort to attract more millenial viewers. A key to that is more "live" programming, which apparently the network includes the pre-taped Smackdown as an example of, along with Raw and some National Hockey League playoff games they'll be taking from partner NBC Sports. Tough Enough will also be revamped to include "live elements", although as today's Rumor Roundup pointed out, the show will not be 100% live.

All the talk of focusing on advertiser-coveted live shows will only fuel speculation that Smackdown may itself be broadcast as it happens, but there's no mention of that in WWE or USA's PR, or the Variety piece.

In an acknowledgement of the Thursday night show's tape-delayed status, and WWE's struggle to attract many companies to buy time on pro wrestling shows, USA brought up NBC Universal's "For the Hero in All of Us" campaign which is focused on "educating the marketplace about WWE's positive attributes".

Still, the network will gladly put all WWE programming under one roof. The plan is to ensure that USA remains a ratings powerhouse while it determines if adding two more Todd Chrisley shows and tailoring it's hour long dramas to themes like "bravery, optimism, self-reliance and hope" that it believes the younger end of the 18 - 49 audience values can keep it on top of the cable charts.

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