SmackDown Live Will Reportedly Become Three-Hour Show With New Television Deal

SmackDown Live could be changing more than just channels in the near future.News broke on [...]

SmackDown Live could be changing more than just channels in the near future.

News broke on Wednesday that NBCUniversal was allowing WWE to shop the Blue Brand around to other various networks as the company focused on resigning the television rights for Monday Night Raw for nearly triple its current price.

Variety reporter Kristopher Tapley had more information on SmackDown's future on Thursday, saying that potential landing spots include Fox, Facebook and Amazon.

But Tapley noted one change that might come with the move is stretching SmackDown out to three hours to match Raw's length every week.

"One option open to 'SmackDown' is moving from a two- to three-hour format akin to 'Raw,'" Tapley wrote. "That would obviously inflate the show's advertising potential, which might even be an enticing lure for suitors. The smaller two-hour bite is more appealing to fans, but a deeper breath would allow the brand to broaden its storytelling spotlight to include some of its underutilized talents."

Tapley also spoke with multiple industry experts, who believe WWe has plenty of leverage heading into the negotiation period.

"The company sits in a much stronger financial and negotiating position now than in 2014 (having just launched the WWE Network while PPV was winding down)," a Guggenheim analysis of WWE's product read. "We believe that WWE stands to make significant headway during its coming television contract negotiations due to an enhanced brand, new [business-to-business] relationships, more potential bidders than ever, and a contract that under-indexes other live premium programming."

Raw moved from a two-hour format to three hours following the show's 1000th episode on July 23, 2012. With a few exceptions, SmackDown has remained a two-hour show.

The addition of an extra hour could force WWE's hand in reshuffling its two current rosters, as well as demand more stars be called up from NXT. When the new official brand split came into play in 2016, a draft was held there Smackdown took 1/3 of the main roster talent while Raw grabbed 2/3 as well as the cruiserweights on the 205 Live roster.

SmackDown has been no stranger to moving networks and days throughout its history. The show originally debuted on the UPN network in April 1999 as Thursday Night SmackDown!, but the show switched to Friday night's in 2005.

A year after that jump the show moved to The CW, where it stayed until 2008. It then proceeded to move to MyNetworkTV and Syfy before joining Raw on the USA Network in January 2016. By making the move, the company also opted to make the show a live broadcast rather than a tape delay.