According to the LATimesBlogs.com site (by way of Prowrestling.net), SyFy has bought the rights to air WWE Smackdown and will begin airing the program in October. SyFy (which is owned by NBC Universal, parent company of USA, which airs Monday Night Raw, and NBC, which occasionally airs WWE specials like the Tribute to the Troops and Saturday Night’s Main Event) is reportedly coughing up $30 million for the rights to Smackdown (which will remain on Friday nights). So for those of you armchair watchdogs who fear for WWE when they don’t have a network television presence, stop it, because a) WWE is a business and it just sealed a $30 million deal, and b) its network options were limited and they landed on a cable network that has about as much penetration as MyNetworkTV (yuck). And anyway, c) cable television is way better than network television. Smackdown could have gotten the Jay-Leno-death-knell 10 p.m. ET timeslot, been a terrible lead-in for the 11 o’clock news and then been canceled altogether. Instead, it’s on the same network as “Battlestar Galactica,” one of this past decade’s most revered and touted cable shows (and “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, the greatest megalodon flick since Godzilla vs. Mothra”). So consider us lucky.
(And according to this Dot Net link, the move spells the end for WWE NXT come the new fall season, which is too bad, since NXT was the most interesting program WWE had created in a while. But it at least forces WWE’s hand and gives them a deadline to figure out how to finish the NXT season. Shit, I’m still wondering who raised the briefcase on Steve Austin at King of the Ring 1999, so some finality here would be nice!) -Eric