NBCU pins down WWE wrestling shows

WWENBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has scored a deal to keep the lucrative WWE wrestling programmes on its channels.

This will keep flagship shows Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown on USA Network and Syfy, respectively, as part of a multi-year deal.

The shows are the longest-running episodic entertainment series on US cable and have a combined reach of 10.8 million viewers a month.

NBCU previously had exclusive rights to the programmes, which were its biggest hitting shows, but these went on to the open market in February when an exclusive negotiating window closed without a deal. This allowed rivals to negotiate for the lucrative contract.

However, WWE and NBCU have now come to an agreement and the shows will remain with Syfy.

“In today’s TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week a year basis,” said NBCU Cable chairman Bonnie Hammer. “We look forward to bringing WWE’s action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come.”

Additionally, NBCU-owned E! will continue to broadcast WWE-themed reality show Total Divas, which Banijay-owned Bunim/Murray produces with the WWE.

Earlier this year, the WWE launched WWE Network, an online channel featuring premium, original and catalogue wrestling content.