Effective October of 2019, SmackDown will be heading to FOX in a deal worth over $1 billion. In an effort to enhance the genre of sports, "new FOX" owner Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan are planning on heavily showcasing NFL and MLB in their package of networks.
As a result of the promotion of NFL and MLB, WWE felt that it would be a good direction to go with the SmackDown product by joining FOX. Although there were other parties who were interested in acquiring the blue brand for even more money, WWE chose FOX because of their wide viewership, along with feeling that the network can heavily promote WWE along with NFL and MLB.
One of the biggest topics from this news stemmed from whether SmackDown will be live or taped. Since its inception, SmackDown has been taped on Tuesday nights to assist with production costs and scheduling. When WWE announced that SmackDown will go live following moving over to USA, it was an easy transition due to it being taped on Tuesdays before the live announcement. However, since WWE's travel schedule for SmackDown is from Saturday to Monday for live events, and Tuesday for the live television programming.
Despite the dilemma, TheWrap is now reporting that WWE will remain live upon its shift to Friday nights on FOX. While Fridays is typically night a good spot for primetime programming, particularly sports, FOX feels that WWE could give them numbers stronger than the programs that are being aired now.
Per the report, going live on Fridays may cause WWE to have live events on Tuesdays to offset costs. However, this does not make much sense, because this would mean that in the five-day span between Friday and Tuesday, there would have to be a day off in-between, which is something that wrestlers would not be accustomed to based on the current schedule.
Additionally, there is also the dilemma of what happens to the WWE Hall of Fame on WrestleMania weekend, since it was moved to Fridays since the advent of the NXT TakeOver series. Based on speculation, this may require the Hall of Fame to move to Thursday nights, expanding WrestleMania weekend one more day. For many fans, this would not be much of an inconvenience, since many independent shows start as early as Wednesday of WrestleMania week.