[03/11/03 - 12:00 AM]
UPN Renews 'Smackdown!'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- UPN and the WWE have signed a multi-year renewal deal to keep "WWE Smackdown" at the network through the 2004-05 season.

Despite ratings being down by 13% from last season (6.37 million viewers on average vs. 5.55 million as of March 2), "Smackdown" is still UPN's most-watched program as well as the top-rated show among male teens and the third-highest-rated show among persons 12 through 34 (behind CBS and NBC) in its time period.

The deal also marks a change in the series' license-fee structure. Previously, in what was essentially a time buy, the WWE had paid a straight fee of $300,000 per week (about $16 million a year) to UPN in order to broadcast the series. In exchange, the WWE sold most of "Smackdown's" ad inventory, with UPN handling just two minutes' worth of spots. Beginning this fall however, the WWE will switch to a more traditional license-fee arrangement as now UPN will pay the company about $500,000 per week for the series and take over selling all of the ad inventory.

Despite the netlet actually paying for the series now, the switch will likely end up putting more money in UPN's pocket. The WWE reportedly makes $1 million per episode through its ad spots and with UPN taking over the inventory, it will see a net profit of $500,000 per episode, an increase from the $300,000 the WWE currently pays them.

Other details announced: UPN will keep the series on Thursday nights and the WWE will create four "Smackdown"-related specials per year in addition to its usual 52 weeks-a-year format.

This article was updated on March 12.

  [march 2003]  


[10/05/15 - 08:32 AM]
Sunday's Broadcast Ratings: NFL Puts NBC on Top; Sparks FOX Growth
The latter's hour worth of coverage bumps up its comedies by double digits from last week's premieres.

[10/05/15 - 08:05 AM]
SundanceTV Teams Up with Zodiak on "Rebellion"
The five-part serial charts the birth of modern Ireland during one of the most disruptive and terrifying periods in history.

[10/05/15 - 08:04 AM]
"The Last Panthers," A Six-Part Crime Series Starring Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, Goran Bogdan & John Hurt, To Air on SundanceTV in Spring 2016
The project is set in modern day Europe gripped by new forms of crime on an epic scale.

[10/05/15 - 07:41 AM]
Hallmark Channel Brings Christmas Cheer to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R) with Debut of First-Ever Float, "Heartwarming Holiday Countdown"
This announcement comes as Hallmark Channel gears up for its biggest holiday programming celebration ever with "Countdown to Christmas," which will kick off on October 31 and feature 24/7 holiday fare, including 17 new original movie premieres.

[10/05/15 - 07:03 AM]
It's a Monster-Ous Month on FOX with All-New Halloween-Themed Episodes
Highlights include the previously announced crossover between "Bones" and "Sleepy Hollow" on Thursday, October 29.

[10/04/15 - 09:34 AM]
FOX Live + 3 Day Ratings: "Grandfathered" & "The Grinder" Post Healthy Gains
FOX further spins the numbers for Tuesday, September 29.

[10/04/15 - 08:50 AM]
Live + 3 Day Ratings: ABC's "S.H.I.E.L.D." Emerges as the Clear #1 Scripted Show Tuesday at 9pm in Adults 18-49
ABC further spins the numbers for Tuesday, September 29.

[10/04/15 - 08:46 AM]
Saturday's Broadcast Ratings: College Football Keeps ABC on Top
The Alphabet wins the night in total viewers and adults 18-49 by a wide margin.

[10/04/15 - 08:32 AM]
"Saturday Night Live" Season Premiere Up 13% vs. Year-Ago Debut in Metered-Market Households
NBC spins the numbers for Saturday, October 3.

[10/04/15 - 08:22 AM]
College Football Week 5: ABC Televises Two Highest-Rated Games of the Day
ESPN spins the numbers for Saturday, October 3.

[10/03/15 - 09:19 AM]
Friday's Broadcast Ratings: "Shark Tank" Tops Demos for ABC
The Alphabet leads the night among adults 18-49.

[10/03/15 - 09:18 AM]
"Dateline NBC" Grows Week to Week by 10% in Both 18-49 and Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Friday, October 2.

[10/03/15 - 09:03 AM]
"Gotham" Week 2 Rises 63% in Nielsen Live + 3 Day, Outrating Season Premiere
FOX further spins the numbers for Monday, September 28.

[10/03/15 - 08:47 AM]
"Blindspot" Generates NBC's Biggest Live + 3 Day 18-49 Lift in Nearly a Year
NBC further spins the numbers for Monday, September 28.

[10/03/15 - 08:21 AM]
ABC Wins Its 2nd Straight Friday in Adults 18-49, Outdelivering Runner-Up CBS by 17%
ABC spins the numbers for Friday, October 2.