It’s been rumored for several months now that WWE SmackDown would be moving back to Thursday nights. Well, now it’s official, as WWE.com announced today that SmackDown is making the move to Thursday night starting January 15. SmackDown will continue to air on the SyFy network.
Back in August, WWE began promoting SmackDown’s move to Thursday nights with the new date being shown on the side of their production trucks. Soon thereafter, social media became flooded with images showing that WWE was promoting SmackDown’s move to Thursday. In response to the images, WWE said that they were contemplating the move at the time, but hadn’t made an official decision.
WWE waiting to move SmackDown to Thursday nights until January 15 is likely because the NFL will be done running games on Thursday nights as of December 18, and because around January 15 the “holiday hangover” will be gone, and people will return to their regular viewing habits.
WWE SmackDown made its weekly television debut on August 26, 1999, and aired on Thursday nights at the time. In September of 2005, SmackDown was move to Friday nights. Since SmackDown has moved to Friday nights it has averaged around 3.1 million viewers per week, and has been number one viewed show in primetime on any cable network on Friday nights.
Michelle Wilson (WWE Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer) and Michael Engleman (Executive Vice President, Marketing, Digital and Global Brand Strategy, Syfy) explained the reasoning for WWE moving SmackDown to Thursday.
“WWE’s sizable and passionate fan base make ‘SmackDown’ the No. 1 entertainment show on Syfy and the most-watched, regularly scheduled program among key demographics on the network. We look forward to bringing the WWE audience to Thursday nights on Syfy.
“Quite simply, more young men watch television on Thursday night than on Fridays. Among Men 18-49, PUTS (persons using television) are 15 percent higher compared to Fridays, expanding the potential audience for ‘SmackDown.’ Since the majority of broadcast programming skews female, we’re also using Thursday nights to counter-program.”
With SmackDown making the move to Thursday WWE will likely move NXT, which airs on the WWE Network on Thursday nights, to Wednesday nights. Furthermore it looks like WWE will continue to tape SmackDown on Tuesday nights following their live broadcast of Main Event on the WWE Network.
SmackDown will continue in its current time slot (8 p.m. eastern time) after the move.
[Image and video via WWE.com]