Eric Bischoff Predicts WWE SmackDown Will Expand To Three Hours On USA

News broke last week that WWE had come to an agreement with the USA Network for the television rights to SmackDown, marking an end to the "Blue Brand's" tenure on FOX. It had been speculated for some time that SmackDown was due to change networks at the end of their last deal, while Raw and NXT are expected to remain with USA Network even as theirs are set to end. Former Raw general manager Eric Bischoff echoed that sentiment during "Strictly Business".

"That's kind of where I would lean, and there's no reason for that really other than my gut," he said, adding that the show has been on the network for as long as he can remember. He said there's a lot of value in keeping to old television values in a world where streaming and on-demand services have grown exponentially and Raw has long set that benchmark for 52 weeks a year. So there is value in "being able to make that statement" as a network and there is a sense of comfort for advertisers.

As for SmackDown's future on its new network, Bischoff said he wouldn't be surprised to see the show extend to a three-hour runtime. He recalled when Ted Turner and AT&T instructed him to expand "WCW Monday Nitro" to three hours, the decision was out of his control, as the third hour provided lucrative value in additional ad revenue, which helped balance the books.

"It makes a lot of sense. USA has obviously had a lot of experience with it," Bischoff explained, "they're very comfortable with it, they've been doing it for a long time. I would be surprised if they didn't, frankly, I'd be shocked."