One of World Wrestling Entertainment’s longest running television programs will be broadcasting live on a weekly basis for the first time in its history.
WWE announced on Tuesday that the show “Thursday Night Smackdown“, usually shortened to just “WWE Smackdown“, which is taped on Tuesday’s and later shown on Thursday, will officially be broadcast live on Tuesday nights starting on July 19th, 2016.
“There is a huge appetite among our viewers for live programming and the ability to move ‘Smackdown’ to a live format brings a new level of excitement and helps truly eventize this every week,” said Chris McCumber, president of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, in a prepared statement given out on Tuesday afternoon.
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon released a statement on the announcement as well.
“WWE’s flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV,” McMahon said. “This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around the world.”
“Smackdown” first aired on television back in 1999 as a one-night special, became a weekly program for the then-WWF, a secondary show to their flagship show, “WWE Monday Night Raw“, which has aired since 1993. “Monday Night Raw” has been declared as the “longest weekly episodic television show in history”.
As for “Smackdown”, a total of 875 episodes have been aired over the course of nearly 17 years. For the majority of its time, it aired on the now-defunct UPN Network, followed by two and a half year stints on both The CW and MyNetworkTV. Eventually, the show began airing on the Syfy network, where it ended its run on Friday nights, and in January of 2016, “Smackdown” returned to the USA Network, and began airing on Thursday nights once again.
Now, it will be live, and with a roster filled with veterans and young stars of the future, it’ll be an even bigger way to view the talent WWE has in their company.