- WWE Friday Night SmackDown
show_name=WWE Friday Night SmackDown
Sports entertainment Professional wrestling
480i( SDTV) 1080i( HDTV) [cite web| title=WWE Slams Into HD |url=http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0082/t.11698.html|publisher=TV Technology|accessdate=2008-03-09]
runtime=Approximately 2 hours per episode (1 hour 30 minutes and commercials)
UPN(August 26, 1999 – September 15, 2006) The CW (September 22, 2006 – September 26, 2008) MyNetworkTV(October 3, 2008 - present)
first_aired=August 26, 1999
num_episodes=478 (as of October 10, 2008)
"WWE Friday Night SmackDown" is a
professional wrestling television programfor World Wrestling Entertainment(WWE) that is currently airing on MyNetworkTVin the United States. The show's name is also used to refer to the SmackDown brand, in which WWE employees are assigned to work and perform on that program; the other programs and brands are "Raw" and "ECW". It is the only television broadcast for the SmackDown brand. From its launch in 1999, "SmackDown" was shown on Thursday nights, but as of September 9, 2005, the show moved to Friday nights. The show originally debuted in the United States on the UPN television networkon August 26, 1999, but after the closure of that network, "Friday Night SmackDown" was moved to The CW in 2006. The showed remained on the CW network for two years until it was announced that it would move to MyNetworkTV in October 2008. The show is also shown in Mexico on TV Azteca. The show is also shown in the United Kingdomon Friday nights on Sky Sports 3; due to the time difference, "Friday Night SmackDown" premieres a few hours earlier in the United Kingdom than the United States. For other broadcast listings, see below.
"SmackDown!" as it was originally titled first appeared on April 29, 1999 as a single television special on UPN. On August 26, 1999, "SmackDown!" officially debuted on UPN, in
Kansas City, Missouri. Like " WCW Thunder", "SmackDown!" was recorded on Tuesdays and then broadcast on Thursdays. The new WWF show was so popular that WCW moved "Thunder" to Wednesdays in the hope of holding on to fans rather than losing them to WWF. "SmackDown!", like "Thunder", made heavy use of the color blue.
The first "SmackDown!" set was unique as it featured an oval-shaped TitanTron (which was dubbed the "OvalTron"), entrance and stage which made it stand out from the "Raw" set and its rectangular TitanTrons. An added feature to the original set was the ability for the OvalTron to be moved to either the left or right of the stage. Throughout the show's early existence, top WWF superstar The Rock routinely called "SmackDown!" "his" show, in reference to the fact that the name was derived from one of his
catchphrases, "Laying the smackdown." In August 2001, as part of celebrating "SmackDown!"'s second anniversary, the show received a new logoand set. The last "SmackDown!" to use the previous television set saw Alliance member Rhyno Gore WWF member Chris Jerichothrough the center screen, destroying part of the set.
In early to mid-2002, WWE underwent a process they called the "Brand Extension". WWE divided itself into two "de facto" wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures. Raw and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split was a result of WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of "WWF Raw" on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day.
Wrestlers now would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the
WWE Undisputed Championshipand WWE Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In August 2002, WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnarrefused to defend the title on Raw, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown! The following week on "Raw", General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to Raw's designated #1 contender, Triple H. Due to the fact that since the WWE Undisputed Championship was now SmackDown! exclusive it was no longer seen as "Undisputed". Following this, the WWE Women's Championshipsoon became Raw-exclusive as well. As a result of the Brand Extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.
On June 6, 2005, WWE Champion John Cena switched brands from SmackDown! to Raw as part of the month-long Draft Lottery. This effectively left SmackDown! without a World Title. During this time, United States Champion
Orlando Jordanwas billed as the top champion on the show. On June 23, 2005, in Tucson, SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long announced a six-man elimination match between John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Booker T, Chris Benoit, The Undertaker, Christian (replacing The Big Show, who was picked by Raw in the lottery), and Muhammad Hassan to crown the first SmackDown! Champion. On the June 30 episode of "SmackDown!", JBL won the match. Long appeared afterward and stated that even though JBL had won the match, SmackDown! did not need a Championship anymore. Batista, the World Heavyweight Champion, entered the ring as SmackDown!'s final draft lottery pick. Long also revealed that JBL was the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Friday Night SmackDown!
It was possible that WWE's "lame duck" status with Viacom on Spike TV is what prompted its moving "SmackDown!" to the
Friday night death slotfor the Fall 2005 season. However, it worked out for both parties involved, as the show did better in the ratings than it had on Thursdays, while UPN received much better ratings on Fridays than it did before, with its movie night. In addition, UPN had been able to hold on to the ratings from Thursday nights, most notably with comedian Chris Rock's "Wonder Years"-like sitcom " Everybody Hates Chris". In January 2006, prior to the announcement of the CW Network, it was announced that UPN had renewed "SmackDown!" for two more years.cite web|title= Mixed views on WB, UPN merger|publisher=Variety.com|url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117936770?categoryid=14&cs=1&s=h&p=0 |accessdate=2006-08-04]
Following the cancellation of ', "SmackDown!" was renamed "Friday Night SmackDown!" and moved into "Enterprises former timeslot in the
United States. WWE promoted this move with the tagline"TV that's changing Friday nights." "Friday Night SmackDown!" made its season premiere on September 9, 2005. The program still aired on Thursdays in Canadaon the Score. In the United Kingdomand Australia, their stations Sky Sportsand FOX8air "SmackDown!" on Fridays before the United Statesdue to the time difference. This is the first time a major weekly WWE show airs internationally before it hits screens in the U.S.
The events of
Hurricane Katrinaaffected the first edition of "Friday Night SmackDown!" in the U.S. due to a special fundraising concert (see ) that aired on UPN at the same time that the first edition would have been broadcast, resulting in only the second hour of the show being shown on UPN. The first hour was instead streamed from WWE's website. Other countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines received the full two-hour show. WWOR-TV(My 9, New York, New York) also aired both hours of the show on tape delay on Saturday, due to a previous commitment to broadcast the New York Yankeeson Friday nights.
At the "SmackDown!" taping on January 10, 2006, Batista had to forfeit the World Heavyweight Championship because of a
tricepsinjury. SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long made a Battle Royal for the vacant title. The winner was at the time Raw superstar Kurt Angle, who later switched to the SmackDown brand. In a break from their traditional role of acting as if "SmackDown!" is not pre-recorded, WWE.com had a photograph of Angle holding his new title on the main page. WWE also did this when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to win the World Heavyweight Championship from The Undertakerand when The Great Khaliwon a battle royal after Edge's injury.
On the April 7, 2006 edition of "SmackDown!", SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long announced that the
King of the Ringtournament would return after a four year hiatus as a "SmackDown!"-exclusive tournament. The tournament ended at Judgment Day 2006 with Booker T as the winner, defeating Bobby Lashleyin the final.
On June 9, 2006,
Tazzleft the SmackDown! brand to join the new ECW brand, leaving the color commentator position on SmackDown! vacant. However, on June 11 at One Night Stand 2006, JBL revealed that he would be the new color commentator for SmackDown! He stayed in that position until December 2007 when he left SmackDown! to become an in-ring competitor on Raw. Jonathan Coachmanreplaced him afterwards.
The CW Network
On September 22, 2006, "Friday Night SmackDown!" debuted on the
The CW Television Network, a joint venture between CBS Corporation, owner of UPN, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, majority owner of The WB.
For four weeks before the official premiere (and in preparation for the impending removal of UPN in several markets by the debut of
MyNetworkTVon September 5, 2006) of "Friday Night SmackDown!" on the CW on September 22, 2006, Tribune Broadcastingtelevision stations in six major markets (including WPIXin New York City and KTLAin Los Angeles) aired WWE's "Friday Night SmackDown!" early in September 2006. [ [http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/tribunesmackdown WWE, Tribune announce September SmackDown! schedule] . WWE.com] Two other future affiliates of The CW, WCWJin Jacksonville, Floridaand WIWBin Green Bay, Wisconsin, also aired "SmackDown!" in early September as well.
The transition to the CW caused an interruption in the broadcast of "SmackDown!" in the state of
Utahbeginning in June when KPNZin Salt Lake City stopped airing all UPN programs early. The show is now seen on KUCW. In Hawaii, "SmackDown!" returned in late 2006, airing on a CW digital subchannelof Honolulu's FOX affiliate KHON(Channel 2), which has received statewide carriage over Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Since the move to the CW Network, "Friday Night SmackDown!" has shown a major increase in ratings now averaging a 3.0 national rating. In addition, "SmackDown!" has become the second highest watched program on The CW.
On April 20, 2007, "SmackDown!" celebrated its 400th episode. Ratings success soon followed. On June 8, 2007, "Friday Night SmackDown!" made CW history by making a three-way tie with
CBSand ABC in the key ad demographic, adults 18-49 by drawing a 1.5 rating each. On June 22, 2007, "Friday Night SmackDown!" again made CW history by tying the network for first place in the key ad demographic, adults 18-49, and being the second most watched network program at 9 p.m. for the night. The CW had not performed as well at any time slot since " America's Next Top Model" in March 2007. The next week on June 29, 2007, "Friday Night SmackDown!" helped The CW claim the top spot in the key demographic, Adults 18-49 for Friday. CBSgot the overall lead but The CW got top spot for the Adults 18-49 by registering a 1.4 rating followed by CBSand NBCat 1.3, ABC at 1.2, and FOXat 0.9. [ [http://rajah.com/base/node/7400 Friday Night SmackDown!delivers] Rajah.com] [ [http://rajah.com/base/node/7414 WWE Ratings Come In Strong] Rajah.com] Then on Friday, July 13, 2007, "Friday Night SmackDown!" made network history by placing first in the 18-49 demographic and becoming the most watched show at the 9 p.m. hour on network television. This is the first time anything has placed this well on The CW. "SmackDown!" became a hit show on Friday nights winning the demographics for young males, and ranking second on the demographics (18-49) for Friday nights.
On October 16, 2007 it was announced that the SmackDown! and ECW brands would begin a "talent exchange", allowing their respective talent to appear and compete on either brand, due to the fact that ECW is broadcast live on the same night and from the same arena where Smackdown is taped. [cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/shows/ecw/archive/10162007/articles/partnershipforming|title=Partnership Forming?|date=October 16, 2007|accessdate=2007-10-25|publisher=WWE] [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/ecw/archive/10162007/|title= Setting the night on fire|accessdate=2007-10-25|work=ECW results|publisher=WWE]
In January 2008 SmackDown! debuted in HD with Raw and ECW and dropped the exclamation point from the end of its name. The "SmackDown fist" was removed as well as all WWE shows started using the same, standard set. On February 8, 2008 it was reported that World Wrestling Entertainment and The CW had ended negotiations to keep "Friday Night SmackDown" on the network. WWE stated that negotiations with other networks has begun and that "Friday Night SmackDown" would continue to air on The CW through the end of the 2007-2008 broadcast season.cite web|url= http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3i55bff7bc1a68ecef11e4dc915b1479f8|title=CW, 'SmackDown' part ways|date=2008-02-08|accessdate=2008-02-09|last=Wallenstein|first=Andrew|publisher=
The Hollywood Reporter] [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/smackdown/articles/6103668/smackdownmovingfromcw|accessdate=2008-02-08|title=SmackDown! is moving from the CW|publisher=WWE|date=2008-02-08] On February 26 WWE issued a press release announcing "Friday Night SmackDown" 'smove to MyNetworkTV. [cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/smackdownnewhome|title=MyNetworkTV new home of SmackDown|date=2008-02-26|accessdate=2008-02-26| publisher=WWE] [cite press release|title=MyNetworkTV Crowns WWE Its New Programming Champ|publisher=WWE|date=2008-02-26|url=http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080226/20080226006085.html|accessdate=2008-02-26] On May 19, 2008, MyNetworkTV president, Greg Meidel, announced that WWE television would premiere on the network in October 2008, with a recap of WrestleMania XXIVbeing shown on October 2, 2008, and "SmackDown" premiering on October 3, 2008. [cite web|url=http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20080519mynetworktv01 |title=MyNetworkTV Pins Down First Week of October 2008 for Tag Team of WWE Television Events|accessdate=2008-05-19|date=2008-05-19|publisher=The Futon Critic] [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/7115762|accessdate=2008-05-19|title=WWE joins forces with MyNetworkTV this fall|publisher=WWE|date=2008-05-19] [citeweb|url=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/ustv/a96574/mynetworktv-plans-magic-show-revival.html|title=MyNetworkTV plans 'Magic' show revival|first=Dave|last=West|date=2008-05-22|accessdate=2008-05-22|publisher=Digital Spy]
In April 2008,
Mick Foleyreplaced Jonathan Coachmanas Color commentator. Following the 2008 WWE Draft, Jim Rossbecame the new play-by-play announcer for SmackDown, while Michael Colemoved to Raw. The WWE Champion Triple Hwas also drafted to SmackDown, which gave SmackDown two world championships to be featured on the brand. On June 30, 2008 on Monday Night Raw, CM Punkcashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated the World Heavyweight Champion Edge, bringing the World Heavyweight Championship back to Raw. In August 2008, Tazzreplaced Foley as the color commentator.
"Friday Night SmackDown" debuted on
MyNetworkTVin the United States on October 3, 2008, which featured performers from the Raw, ECW, and SmackDown programs. "WWE SmackDown" also debuted with a new theme song. The premiere episode on MyNetworkTV attracted 3.2 million viewers. While the viewership dropped, "SmackDown" pulled the highest ratings to date for MyNetworkTV and pushed the network to fifth place beating out its former broadcaster The CW. The premiere was also first place in male 18-49 demographics. [cite web|url= http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/10/06/mynetworktv%c2%ae-largest-audience-ever-tunes-in-to-the-premiere-of-%e2%80%9cwwe%c2%ae-friday-night-smackdown%c2%ae%e2%80%9d/5781|title=MyNetworkTV Largest Audience Ever Tunes in to the Premiere of “WWE Friday Night SmackDown”|date=2008-10-06|accessdate=2008-10-07|publisher=TVbytheNumbers.com]
Induction into Merriam-Webster
On July 10, 2007, [cite web|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19698856/|title=msnbc.msn.com|accessdate=2007-07-23]
Merriam-Websterannounced it would induct the word "smackdown" [cite web|url=http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/smackdown|title=m-w.com/dictionary/smackdown|accessdate=2007-07-23] into Webster's Dictionary. According to Merriam Webster, a "smackdown" is:
* The act of knocking down or bringing down an opponent
* A contest in entertainment wrestling
* A decisive defeat
* A confrontation between rivals or competitors
"Friday Night SmackDown" is usually taped on Tuesday evening and aired Friday evening on MyNetworkTV the same week. Occasionally, it is taped on Monday nights before or after "Raw" in what is called a "Supershow". "SmackDown" has also aired live on occasion.
The most recent theme song for "SmackDown" was "Rise Up 2006" by
Drowning Pool, a new version of "Rise Up!" performed by new lead singer Ryan McCombsand featured as a bonus downloadable track on the WWE Wreckless Intentalbum. It debuted a new as yet untitled theme song on its MyNetworkTV debut.
"Friday Night SmackDown" began broadcasting in HD beginning with the January 25, 2008 edition of "SmackDown", where a new set debuted that is shared among all three WWE brands. Following the first broadcast in HD, the iconic
exclamation markused since the show's inception was removed from all references pertaining to "SmackDown" including the official logo. cite web|title=WWE Goes HD|url= http://corporate.wwe.com/news/2008/2008_01_14.jsp|publisher=WWE|accessdate=2008-01-15]
*World Wrestling Entertainment roster (SmackDown Brand)
Extreme Championship Wrestling (WWE)
* [http://www.mynetworktv.com/shows.php?show=71 "WWE Friday Night SmackDown" at MyNetworkTV.com]
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