MyNetworkTV the new home of SmackDown
Striking while the company is in the news with WrestleMania 24 and Floyd Mayweather, World Wrestling Entertainment announced today that WWE SmackDown would be moving to the MyNetworkTV channel in the United States.
The announcement was jointly made by MyNetworkTV President, Greg Meidel and WWE Chairman of the Board Vincent K. McMahon in New York.
Smackdown will debut on MyNetworkTV in the Fall of 2008, after it leaves the CW Network.
"The momentum at MyNetworkTV continues with this major acquisition," Meidel said in a press release. "We have demonstrated tremendous growth and this partnership with WWE, the premier sports-entertainment franchise in the world is a perfect fit for our viewers, advertisers and affiliates."
Smackdown, which has been on the air nine years, will continue to be two hours long. It will also continue to air in Canada on The Score.
"We are excited to add MyNetworkTV and its television affiliates to our family of global network partners," said McMahon in the release. "We have an unmatched record of delivering ratings success to each and every network partner we’ve worked with in our long and storied history. We fully intend to bring that same level of success to MyNetworkTV."
The parting of the ways with the CW Network was a bit of a surprise to many, as Smackdown had been one of the station's top-rated shows. In an interview conducted with SLAM! Wrestling's Jon Waldman earlier this month, WWE spokesman Gary Davis stated that the reason for the move was due to the two sides being unable to come to a new contract agreement before the expiration of CW’s exclusive negotiation period, which ended on January 31, 2008.
MyNetworkTV is owned by the Fox Broadcasting Company, a division of News Corporation. It started in September 2006, reaching more than 90% of the United States, mainly through former WB and UPN affiliates.
-- SLAM! Wrestling staff
February 8, 2008: WWE, CW set to part ways