It’s My Smackdown now.
The WWE and News Corp.’s My Network TV have entered into an exclusive agreement to carry the two-hour WWE Smackdown, beginning in September. The program will enter season 10 on the mini-net.
Many former UPN affiliates (including WPWR in Chicago and WCGV in Milwaukee) aired Smackdown but when UPN merged with the WB to form CW in 2006, many of those stations lost the show. But now those same stations will have an opportunity to air Smackdown again.
The move is a boon for My Network TV, which has struggled outside the gate for the last two years with an all-telenovela format that quickly went bust on the onset.
No word on what night Smackdown will air, but it expected to air either Thursday or Friday.
UPDATE: In order for My Network TV to pay for acquiring Smackdown, it is asking affiliates to give back two minutes of adtime back to the network – on top of the two minutes it had already asked to give back. When the network launched in 2006, affiliates got a very generous 5-minute national/9-minute local ad split. Beginning this fall, the split will become more even, at exactly 7/7 with Smackdown having a 9/5 split.
Thought: This is a good move for both parties involved – for the WWE, which returns to many of those same stations it spurned when UPN and the WB merged to form CW. For My Network TV, the network gets a show that is a proven winner, and given the struggles at CW, this is an excellent opportunity for My Network TV to become a very serious contender and pass CW. If that happens, those former UPN affiliates-turned-My Net stations may get the last laugh. Ha.
Updated 6:00 p.m on 2008-02-26