[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]  


[11/24/15 - 01:48 PM]
Spike TV Unwraps Big Ratings for "Lip Sync Battle" Holiday Special
Spike TV further spins the numbers for Thursday, November 19.

[11/24/15 - 01:26 PM]
"48 Hours: The Strange Case of Kurt Sonnenfeld" Is Saturday's #1 Program with Viewers
CBS spins the numbers for Saturday, November 21.

[11/24/15 - 01:01 PM]
NBC's Annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Celebrates the Music of the Holidays Live on Wednesday, Dec. 2
Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host the live broadcast from New York City's Rockefeller Center.

[11/24/15 - 12:30 PM]
"Jimmy Kimmel Live: The Star Wars Special" to Air Wednesday, November 25 on ABC
Said encore replaces the previously announced repeat of "Nashville" that night.

[11/24/15 - 12:29 PM]
TV One's Hit Scripted Comedy "Born Again Virgin" Returns with All-New Episodes Tuesday, December 8 at 9 P.M. ET/PT
The scripted comedy is back with more dating adventures of three 30-something best friends and the challenges they face while attempting to navigate a new romantic landscape and trying to avoid the pitfalls of empty relationships.

[11/24/15 - 11:30 AM]
Music Icon and Animal Activist Emmylou Harris to Be Honored on "The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration" Thanksgiving Night, Thursday, November 26, On FOX
Eugene Bostick and Michael Schoepf also will be honored as ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things to better the lives of rescue animals.

[11/24/15 - 11:18 AM]
Showtime(R) Documentary Series "Dark Net" to Premiere Thursday, January 21st at 11 PM ET/PT
Each half-hour episode will shed light on themes such as bio-hacking, cyber-kidnapping, digital warfare, online cults, pornography addiction, the webcam sex trade and more.

[11/24/15 - 11:04 AM]
ABC Family Announces Winter Premiere Dates
New scripted drama "Recovery Road" and fan favorite "The Fosters" will now premiere on Monday, January 25.

[11/24/15 - 11:01 AM]
Hallmark Channel Is the Most-Watched Network for the 3rd Consecutive Weekend Among Households, W25-54 and Total Viewers
The Hallmark Channel spins the numbers for the week of November 16-22.

[11/24/15 - 10:38 AM]
With the Cast of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Kimmel" Draws Its 4th-Biggest-Ever Monday Audience
ABC spins the late-night numbers for Monday, November 23.

[11/24/15 - 10:16 AM]
New Year, New You! TLC Amps Up Friday Nights with the Return of Fan-Favorite TLC Talent
Fan-favorite talent including Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, Devyn Simone, Monte Durham and Lori Allen come together to make Friday nights bigger and better than ever.

[11/24/15 - 10:00 AM]
Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster Are Back as "Sesame Street" Debuts Its 46th Season Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 on HBO
The award-winning show will include 30-minute episodes, new preschool-relevant themes, new show opening and closing songs, an updated set, a new segment called "Smart Cookies" and a new cast member, Nina.

[11/24/15 - 09:01 AM]
LL Cool J to Host the 17th Annual "A Home for the Holidays," An Entertainment Special Celebrating Families, To Be Broadcast Friday, Dec. 18 on the CBS Television Network
Special performances are dedicated to these children and their new adoptive families, whose stories are featured in pre-taped segments to help raise awareness of this important social issue.

[11/24/15 - 08:51 AM]
Monday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC Holds Off Surging ABC in Demo Race
The Peacock leads the night among adults 18-49 while the Alphabet is the most-watched network.

[11/24/15 - 08:37 AM]
NBC Sweeps 6 of 6 Monday Half-Hours Among the Big 4 in 18-49
NBC spins the numbers for Monday, November 23.