WWE will be shaking up its weekly programming networks, as "Friday Night Smackdown" will move back to USA Network beginning October 2024 in a new partnership between TKO Group Holdings and NBCUniversal, the companies announced Thursday.
The new deal is a five-year agreement, and when it begins, WWE will produce four primetime specials per year that will air on NBC, the first time the company will air primetime shows on the network. "Smackdown" has been on Fox since October 2019, but the weekly show was on USA Network before that, from 2016 to 2019.
USA Network currently airs "Monday Night Raw" and NXT, and all pay-per-view events like WrestleMania and Survivor Series air on NBCUniversal's Peacock. USA Network also aired "Raw" when it debuted in 1993 and did up until September 2000 before it returned in October 2005.
"NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades," WWE President Nick Khan said in a statement. "We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing 'SmackDown' to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC."
The company said "Monday Night Raw" and NXT will continue to air on USA Network through September 2024, and it is unlikely it stays on the network once that deal expires, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
The new deal comes one week after WWE and UFC completed their merger on Tuesday morning to create TKO Group Holdings. Vince McMahon, the longtime CEO of WWE, will serve as Executive Chair of TKO "until his death, resignation or incapacity," according to the agreement filed with the SEC, while Khan retains his role before the deal. Former UFC president Dana White serves as the CEO of UFC under TKO.
Contributing: Jack McKessy
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WWE 'Friday Night Smackdown' moving to USA Network in October 2024