WWE News: NBCU television deal is official
WWE and NBCUniversal Cable and Entertainment have reached a multi-year agreement that will keep Raw on USA Network, and Smackdown on Syfy. WWE issued the following press release regarding the deal to Prowrestling.net on Thursday.
NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced a multi-year strategic partnership for WWE's flagship programming and ratings juggernauts MONDAY NIGHT RAW® for a three-hour block on USA Network and the top-rated FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN® on Syfy. The two programs are the longest-running weekly episodic entertainment programs on cable TV with a combined reach of 10.8M viewers each week. The announcement was made today by Paul "Triple H®" Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President Talent, Live Events & Creative, from the stage at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment upfront presentation at the Javitz Center in New York.
"USA Network President Chris McCumber, Syfy President Dave Howe and I are incredibly pleased to renew this strategic partnership with WWE," said NBCUniversal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer. "In today's TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week a year basis. We look forward to bringing WWE's action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come."
"We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal given their premiere position in the marketplace and vast promotional platforms," said WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon. "We are excited about our future as we further the reach and popularity of our live, family-friendly entertainment programming 52 weeks a year."
WWE weekly programming averages more viewers than the NBA, NASCAR, MLB, NHL and UFC. Both MONDAY NIGHT RAW and FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN feature a star-studded cast of WWE Superstars and Divas, and deliver a shot of adrenaline to viewers with over-the-top action, feats of athleticism and high octane drama.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW on USA is the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, airing a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year. RAW has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television. The three-hour block on USA averages 2.2M P18-49, 2.3M P25-54 and 5M total viewers P2+. The 2-hour FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN on Syfy averages 1.2M P18-49, 1.3M P25-54 and 3.2M total viewers P2+. The two programs have reached 37.5M people 2014 to-date.
In addition, E! -- in partnership with WWE and Bunim-Murray Productions -- will continue to broadcast the reality series TOTAL DIVAS, an unprecedented look inside the professional and personal lives of the WWE's leading ladies.
Powell's POV: There are still plenty of questions that are not covered in the press release. Obviously, the number of years and the dollar figure are among the key factors as to whether or not this deal can be considered successful. It will also be interesting to learn whether Smackdown will remain on Friday nights or if the show will go live on another night as was mentioned as a possibility.
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