It was reported back in August that Syfy’s website listed SmackDown on Thursday nights starting on October 2 and a picture tweeted out that featured WWE Superstar Big E standing in front of a SmackDown production truck that advertised SmackDown’s new night. While Syfy’s website put SmackDown back on Friday nights, WWE.com has now made the official announcement that, starting on January 15, SmackDown will indeed be returning to the Thursday night time slot that the show debuted in back in 1999. SmackDown spent its first six years on Thursday nights before making the switch to Friday nights in 2006 in search of better ratings on the now defunct UPN and, after moving networks three times, Friday Night SmackDown arrived on Syfy in 2010, where it has remained ever since.
WWE’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson commented on the move, stating “WWE’s sizable and passionate fan base make SmackDown the No. 1 entertainment show on Syfy and the most-watched, regularly scheduled program among key demographics on the network. We look forward to bringing the WWE audience to Thursday nights on Syfy.” While Syfy’s Executive Vice President of Marketing, Digital, and Global Brand Strategy Michael Engleman offered a more frank statement on the move, “Quite simply, more young men watch television on Thursday night than on Fridays. Among Men 18-49, PUTS [persons using television] are 15 percent higher compared to Fridays, expanding the potential audience for SmackDown. Since the majority of broadcast programming skews female, we’re also using Thursday nights to counter-program.”
Anybody who has kept up on SmackDown’s rating trend over the last several months will have noticed a steady decline in popularity for WWE’s second longest-running episodic television show, so it makes sense for WWE and Syfy to move SmackDown back to the time slot that made the blue-clad show a hit back in its hay day. Time will tell if this will improve ratings for SmackDown or if the show is simply doomed to sub-par ratings. On a side-note, NXT, which currently airs on Thursday nights on the WWE Network, will be moved to Wednesday nights to compensate for the change.
What do you think of SmackDown returning to Thursday nights? Post your comments in the box below.