The original home of WWE's flagship program, Monday Night RAW, will be keeping the broadcast for the next five years.
WWE and USA Network issued a press release on Tuesday officially announcing that they have reached an agreement to keep the Monday night show on the channel for the next five years. The agreement was announced side by side with the news that WWE and FOX Sports had reached an agreement for SmackDown to move to Friday nights.
The full WWE and USA Network press release is below.
USA NETWORK AND WWE® MONDAY NIGHT RAW® EXTEND LONG-STANDING PARTNERSHIP
Three-Hour Live Programming Block to Continue Weekly on Cable’s #1 Entertainment Network
NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., June 26, 2018 – USA Network and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a five-year extension for WWE’s flagship program Monday Night Raw. The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block which commences in October 2019 continues WWE and USA’s nearly three decade-long relationship. Monday Night Raw, the #1 show on USA Network, delivers action, drama, compelling storylines and unmatched athleticism, 52 weeks per year.
“Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run,” says Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we’ll take Raw to even greater heights.”
“We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal and USA Network,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Monday Night Raw has been synonymous with USA Network and we are excited about what the future holds for WWE’s flagship program.”
On the air for 25 years and more than 1,300 episodes, Monday Night Raw is the longest-running weekly episodic television show in U.S. primetime history and consistently a ratings juggernaut. Among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable, Raw delivers more viewers in the U.S. than all sports other than the NFL. On USA Network, the weekly block is currently averaging 1.7M P18-49, 1.7M P25-54 and 3.6M total viewers P2+1.
Since its debut in 1993 on USA, Raw has been watched nearly 6 billion times in the U.S. alone. In its 25-year history, Raw has helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, “Stone Cold®” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins™.
1 Source: Nielsen NNTV, 2018 YTD through May (1/1/18-5/31/18), Live+7 Average Viewers for selected demographics (P18-49, P25-54, P2+).
RAW originally began airing on the USA Network in January 1993. It has aired on the channel for all but five years during the 25 year history of the show. RAW aired on TNN/SpikeTV from 2000 until 2005.
With WWE's television rights coming up for renewal next year, USA Network had the right of first refusal for both RAW and SmackDown since both programs currently air on their network. Given the expected increase in television rights, USA opted to concentrate solely on keeping RAW while WWE negotiated with FOX for a new SmackDown deal.