The WWE’s flagship shows Raw and Smackdown could be moving TV stations in the USA if the company doesn’t reach an agreement with NBC Universal. The WWE had been negotiating a new TV deal with NBC Universal, but could not come to an agreement. NBC Universal’s negotiating period expired last Friday, which means WWE now has the opportunity to talk to other TV networks.
Right now, NBC Universal will still show Raw on USA and Smackdown on Syfy up until September 30. The WWE will want to see if they can score a huge TV deal with other networks in the meantime.
The WWE feels Raw and Smackdown offer lots of value, and nobody can argue with that. Raw has been running for 21 years now, while Smackdown is in its 15th year of airing. Even though WWE will be releasing its own network next week, Raw and Smackdown will continue to air on TV stations as they can still earn lots of revenue from TV rights.
One company that I can see being a little nervous about all this is TNA. If the WWE strikes a deal with Spike TV, TNA’s Impact show might be dropped in favor of either Raw or Smackdown. Raw has aired on Spike TV in the past, so it is a possibility.
One thing is for sure: Raw and Smackdown will still be a part of cable television. I don’t think wrestling has enough fans to survive airing on network television anymore. Smackdown was on network television for many years during its peak before going to cable like Raw has. In either case, it will be interesting to see which TV station picks up the WWE’s shows in the future.