Fox has made a number of big deals with huge companies over the course of the past year, and one of those was with Vince McMahon’s WWE. At the beginning of next October, the blue brand will move channels over to Fox as SmackDown Live begins airing on Friday nights. With the network change less than a year away now, details are starting to roll out — and it appears as if the show is going to undergo a lot of changes under this new deal.
While not yet confirmed, there are rumors going around that the whole feel of SmackDown Live is going to change with the move to Fox. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, by way of Wrestling Inc., Fox is looking to make the show more sports-oriented to go along with a good bit of their other programming.
Professional wrestling is considered a sport by many, with WWE making it a point to represent their product as “sports entertainment” for quite some time now. With the addition of SmackDown Live to its line-up, Fox is looking to take it in more of a “sports direction” — ultimately featuring less comedy on the show.
SmackDown Live is going to be a part of Fox’s sports block of programming from Thursday through Sunday in 2019, and they want it to be a more serious situation.
One person that has always been fond of the comedy aspect of the wrestling television shows from WWE is Vince McMahon. He enjoys the comedic presentation that comes hand in hand with the wrestling business. That is part and parcel to how he ended up with “sports entertainment” in the first place.
This focus on lighthearted shenanigans is a big part of what helped spur a change of WWE programming from its “Attitude Era” into a family show which is rated PG.
There was a big factor on the table when WWE signed the deal with Fox — and that factor was that the network wanted to do a lot of cross-promotion. This would allow SmackDown Live to be promoted on some of Fox’s other sports programs, and have the reverse done for WWE’s show as well.
It would also mean having WWE superstars appear on other sports shows and vice versa. This would help to create a base product for Fox, to present the idea that all of its sports block was deeply connected. It’s going to be interesting to see just how much WWE tones down some of the comedy on SmackDown Live, and if there are any other major changes coming to the blue brand in late 2019.