As their stock price soars in the wake of the official announcement of new U.S. television deals yesterday (June 26), WWE executives held an investor conference call dedicated to discussing their new contracts with NBCUniversal for Raw and Fox for SmackDown. You can read more about that here.
During the 30 minute call, co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson answered questions about a few topics, including the reports the move to Fox could involve additional programming such as a SmackDown pre or post-show.
There was sadly no direct comment regarding Talking Smack, but Wilson said they are talking to Fox about putting more content on the broadcast network and the cable channels they own (Fox is selling their regional sports networks along with FX, National Geographic and others, but will keep Fox Sports 1 and 2, and Fox News):
“Those absolutely have been in discussions with Fox. There have been discussions around additional promotional programming that would highlight other activities in WWE. So those are certainly very positive discussions that are taking place — both on FS1 and Fox Broadcast.”
“Sources tell us there have been discussions in regards to a weekly airing of NXT on Fox Sports 1 … however, we’ve been unable to verify if this is a plan that’s already set in stone.”
We’re still a long way from when Fox’s deal starts (fall of 2019), and it would probably be more surprising if a name-property like NXT wasn’t being discussed. So while it’s too early to worry about needing a cable package to see Keith Lee vs. WALTER, it’s good to know it’s a possibility. Especially with a new UK brand and partnerships with independent promotions WWE could use to replace first-run NXT episodes on the Network, the black-and-yellow brand’s flagship is a versatile and valuable piece of Vince McMahon’s business plan.
Stay tuned... possibly to Fox Sports 1.