Mark your calendars as today, WWE announced that SmackDown Live‘s FOX debut, already scheduled for October 4th, will be a celebration of the show’s 20th Anniversary. With Dave Meltzer previously reporting that WWE will debut new cameras during the initial broadcast, as well as feature celebrities sitting ringside at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, today’s news reveals some additional information such as names of the WWE legends who will be on hand to help kick off the new era for the blue brand as it makes its non-cable debut.
“WWE Superstars past and present will be on hand at Staples Center to celebrate the occasion including Kurt Angle, Lita, Mick Foley, Booker T, Hulk Hogan, Trish Stratus, Goldberg, Jerry Lawler, Mark Henry, Ric Flair and Sting.
“SmackDown has been delivering action-packed, family-friendly programming for two decades, and we look forward to entertaining generations to come as we begin this next chapter on FOX,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO.
“Since we announced our five-year agreement last June, we have been eagerly counting down the days to the launch of SmackDownLive on FOX Sports,” said Eric Shanks, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of FOX Sports. “We couldn’t be more excited and are pulling out all of the stops to commemorate SmackDown’s 20th-anniversary celebration.”
Beginning with its 20th-anniversary celebration on Friday, October 4, SmackDown will air on FOX broadcast network 52 weeks a year and captivate fans with a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism.
On air since 1999, SmackDown Live is the second-longest-running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw, and is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable. SmackDown Live has aired more original episodes than some of the most popular television series of all time, including The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Lassie and Monday Night Football.
In its 20-year history, SmackDown Live has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Triple H®, “Stone Cold®” Steve Austin® and The Bella Twins™.”
While there is no mention of the Rock being slated to attend, it was reported last month that WWE is in fact working on getting one of SmackDown’s biggest stars, and the one whose catchphrase spawned the brand’s name, for the big premiere.
FOX has already been aggressively promoting SmackDown’s debut, including during a NASCAR event in March in which they announced Brock Lesnar would be appearing on the brand starting in October. A few days ago, a photo of some new FOX Sports advertising was released, and Roman Reigns is pictured prominently, front-and-center, alongside MLB and NFL athletes, a nod to FOX’s role in broadcasting weekly NFL games as well as the MLB playoffs, which will start in October as well.
The WWE is coming to Fox in October and it’s getting front and center billing at TCA. pic.twitter.com/XCIQ91vKDs
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 7, 2019
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