WWE looking for bidding on all of its shows, possibly moving Smackdown

While WWE has noted that the Raw and Smackdown contracts with USA and Syfy, as well as deals in the U.K. and India for the WWE TV package will expire in 2014, in a story in Variety, it was said that contracts for every show will be up this year and they are looking to put them together for one major package.

Both Michelle Wilson and George Barrios, who are in charge of the negotiations, were quoted in a story designed to up the bidding for the WWE franchise.  The story is at http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/wwe-aims-to-pin-down-rich-new-tv-rights-deals-exclusive-1200966579/the gwere heading up the negotiating

A key thing WWE is considering is an attempt to move Smackdown to a new night and go live.  For reasons having to do with production schedule, the attempt would be to move the show to Tuesday, although the article never stated that.  Such a move would likely increase the ratings of the show once the new night was established, since Friday is a tough night for television.  Smackdown's ratings dropped significantly when being moved from Thursday to Friday.

The story stated that WWE has had meetings with NBC Universal, A&E, Disney, Viacom, 21st Century Fox and The Discovery Channel. 

The story stated that NBC Universal has until 2/15 to have exclusive negotiating rights.  If they don't sign the deal by that time, WWE will take bids until 2/28 and make a decision based on those bids on 3/4.  WWE would not move if there is a network change until October.

The story also stated that the television contract would include digital rights to the shows, meaning WWE programming would be off Hulu Plus and onto a platform controlled by the network starting in October.

This would include Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, Total Divas and even revamping Saturday Morning Slam (canceled earlier this year by CW).  While not mentioned in the Variety article, it is known that they are also looking for a U.S. home for NXT, which at this point only airs on Hulu, but does air internationally.

the story noted WWE wanting its perception changed from soap opera to sport, because rights fees for sports are going through the roof.

Send us a news tip: newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news from this site or from our newsletters, please include a link to www.wrestlingobserver.com

For the most in-depth and detailed news and analysis on pro-wrestling and MMA, always turn to Wrestlingobserver.com/Figure Four Weekly Online, the #1 website of its kind on the Internet. Members receive online access to both the Wrestling Observer and Figure Four Weekly newsletters and growing archives, Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer three times per week, the popular Bryan and Vinny Show three times per week, additional radio shows including Figure Four Daily with Alvarez, Mike Coughlin's Five Star Radio, the Dr. Keith Lipinski Show, The Adam and Mike Big Audio Nightmare, Tough Talk and the Karl Stern Wrestling History Show, the infamous BOARD, and more! Members also have full access to the thousands of hours of audio in our radio show archives which date back to 2005. For your convenience, we offer secure online payments using your VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover card or PayPal account. Don't miss out on the fun, sign up now! Don't miss out on the fun, sign up now!

Want full access? QUICK AND EASY SIGN-UP, AS LOW AS $9.99 PER MONTH!