There has been a large amount of speculation about the fate of WWE Smackdown when it moves from its current home on SyFy to the USA Network in early 2016. Earlier, Smackdown color commentator Jerry Lawler claimed that there was a good possibility that Smackdown would be going live when it switches networks in January. This led to further rumors about what night Smackdown would be airing on, given that the show is currently taped on Tuesdays and airs Thursdays. If Smackdown were to become a live show airing on Thursdays, it would seriously impact WWE’s current travel schedule, which allows them to run live events on the weekend, Pay Per Views on Sundays, Raw on Monday, and tape Smackdown on Tuesday, leaving a couple of days free to reset everything before setting out on the road again.
Today, USA Network issued a statement about Smackdown’s upcoming move, which will take place on January 7th, 2016. It appears that Smackdown will continue to air on Thursday nights, although the press release did not detail whether the show would continue to be taped ahead of time, or become a live program similar to Raw. However, it does make sure to mention that Raw is a live show, and does not say the same for Smackdown, which would suggest that things will remain the same for the time being.
Here is the official press release from USA:
With the arrival of SMACKDOWN on Thursday, January 7 @ 8/7c, USA becomes the exclusive cable home to WWE’s two marquee properties. Viewers can now bookend their week with MONDAY NIGHT RAW live on Mondays from 8-11p and SMACKDOWN on Thursdays from 8-10p. Consistently one of the highest-rated weekly series on cable, over the past 15 years SMACKDOWN has been broadcast from 170 different venues, in 148 cities and towns and in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico. On January 7, SMACKDOWN will air its 855th episode from Laredo, Texas.