Eric Bischoff has left WWE as Executive Director of its SmackDown brand on Fox. According to a press release sent out by WWE, Bruce Pritchard is replacing him immediately.
This shocking WWE news comes immediately following the WWE Draft, where the talent was divided up between Raw, which airs on USA Network, and SmackDown, which moved to Fox.
“Prichard brings nearly 40 years of experience in sports entertainment with an extensive background in character development and creative storytelling,” the WWE statement read. “Over the course of his career, Prichard has served in a variety of roles including announcer, producer, agent and on-screen personality.”
Bruce Prichard replacing Eric Bischoff as executive director of Smackdown pic.twitter.com/JfTuvYhPID
— Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast ? (@Matmenpodcast) October 15, 2019
Eric Bischoff was hired to run SmackDown for a couple of reasons. First, he was in charge of WCW Monday Nitro when the show beat WWE Monday Night Raw in the ratings week after week.
Second, WWE wanted the two shows to have a different look. Paul Heyman is bringing his vision to Monday Night Raw, and Bischoff’s WCW work was as different from Heyman’s ECW work as anything.
There is also the fact that Eric Bischoff worked with TNT officials throughout his entire tenure at WCW and was a perfect person to put alongside Fox officials.
Now, it won’t happen.
Eric Bischoff left after just two episodes of SmackDown aired on Fox, the first being the anniversary special and premiere and the second being night one of the WWE Draft.
Bischoff had even moved his family to Connecticut to be closer to WWE headquarters in preparation for the job.
Bruce Pritchard, on the other hand, has a long career with WWE. He had an onscreen role in the 80s as Brother Love and then moved on to work as a producer and agent.
Pritchard worked for Vince McMahon and WWE for many years, although he was fired twice — once in 1991 and once in 2008. He most recently returned to the company as part of the creative team and now is leading the charge for SmackDowbn on Fox.
WWE SmackDown airs at 8/7c on Friday nights on Fox.