Earlier today, word broke about the failure of NBC Universal and World Wrestling Entertainment to come to an agreement, thus the future of Raw (currently on USA Monday nights) and SmackDown (currently on SyFy on Friday nights) is now up in the air. The WWE was looking for a better deal, as their most recent deal is just shy of $140 million.
Some might scoff at the “Fed” for asking for such a high number. But given the ratings of Raw alone, they in all fairness deserve that kind of compensation, if not more. With the deal coming to an end in the next seven months, WWE only had this to say:
“WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs, ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown,’ has now expired. While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership. With year-round, live programming that is highly coveted by programmers, distributors and advertisers, we are extremely excited about our future. We look forward to engaging with potential partners who recognize the value of having the #1 show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year.”
While there are networks that are willing to fork over the cash that Vince McMahon and company are looking for, I can’t say I feel confident that any network would embrace Raw, or a wrestling product in general as their flagship show. Even if they do leave NBC Universal, there’s nothing that says they can’t eventually go back. To quote another great piece of programming under the NBC Universal umbrella: “All of this has happened before…and all of this will happen again.”