Wrestlers are coming to Fox.
The network is giving up on airing dramas and will go with a two-hour Friday block of Smackdown Live, the WWE’s flagship program, instead. The new direction kicks off Oct. 4. as part of Fox Sports’ new five-year agreement with the WWE.
Smackdown Live will air weekly for 52 weeks each year.
“At Fox we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the Fox Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television,” said Eric Shanks, president and executive producer at Fox Sports, in a statement. “We are huge fans and know that together Fox Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”
SmackDown Live averages 1.3 million viewers among persons 18-49 and 3 million among total viewers. It is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable TV show in primetime history, behind Monday Night Raw.
“WWE and Fox are a perfect match,” said WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in a 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.”
SmackDown Live is responsible for launching the careers of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and the Bella Twins.