Fox is at the Television Critics Association 2019 winter press tour and CEO of Fox Entertainment Charlie Collier spoke about the future of the network, including their recent acquisition of WWE SmackDown Live.
In 2018, Fox won a bidding war to lure SmackDown Live away from the USA Network. The show will move to Friday nights and debut on Fox on Oct. 19.
Collier, who previously oversaw AMC and SundanceTV, took part in his first Fox presentation since moving to the network and seems excited about the arrival of the WWE. Monsters & Critics was there to talk to him about the acquisition of SmackDown Live.
SmackDown Live has aired for over 1,000 episodes since debuting over 20 years ago. The only cable television show that has aired longer is Monday Night Raw. Now, SmackDown will move off cable and onto network television.
Collier is a long-time wrestling fan, calling himself a “Roddy Piper guy” growing up.
While the show is moving to Friday nights, WWE SmackDown Live on Fox will still be a live show. This is the first time in over 25 years when the WWE held Saturday Night’s Main Event broadcasts on NBC.
SmackDown Live premiered in 1999 on UPN before moving to The CW in 2006, Fox’s MyNetworkTV in 2008, Syfy in 2010 and USA in 2016. Fox will be the sixth home for SmackDown Live.
Collier says they’ve entered into partnerships that weren’t possible before and are new to FOX’s business. They’ll embrace new voices as well.
While there were rumors that Fox might look at bringing in more WWE programming other than just SmackDown Live, Collier said that they are just working with WWE on SmackDown Live right now.
However, he said that Fox Sports 1 will offer other professional wrestling entertainment. He also said that it “fits beautifully with what they’re doing” at Fox.
Previously, Vince McMahon said that this was a perfect deal for both the WWE and Fox.
“The perfect match,” McMahon said in his official statement. “Moving ‘SmackDown Live’ to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage Fox’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”
Collier finished by saying that he loves the slate of creators that they are working with. He said that the “WWE relationship, we have said that is Friday night…short time Friday night is going to WWE.”