Eric Bischoff Talks About The Future Of AEW And WWE SmackDown

It was recently announced that "WWE SmackDown" would be leaving FOX and returning to the USA Network in October 2024, while "WWE NXT" is set to move to the CW Network (which is 12.5% owned by Warner Bros. Discovery) in September 2024. During a recent appearance on his "Strictly Business" podcast via AdFreeShows, former WCW Executive Producer and Senior Vice President Eric Bischoff talked about AEW's current TV rights deal with Warner Bros. Discovery-owned channels TBS and TNT, as well as "SmackDown's" impending departure from FOX.

"I'm gonna be interested in where AEW ends up with WBD [Warner Bros. Discovery]," Bischoff said. "I've heard, also — these are just rumors; I don't believe anything I've read so far — that Warner Brothers Discovery is interested in 'Raw.' Don't know if that's true. That would be interesting because of the fallout that would occur, but at the end of the day, I still believe, firmly believe, WBD owns 30 percent of AEW, so that's a factor as well.

"But we just recently heard from FOX, and I don't remember the executive, is it, Lachlan Murdoch? Came out and said, 'We couldn't afford 'SmackDown' because [of] the ad rates.' Even though it got [a] great audience, oftentimes number one for the night, and demos included, you still couldn't get the premium dollars that your audience should get. 

"It's still what they call an opportunistic buy in the world of advertising. You get a hell of an audience, but since it's not very high in demand amongst advertisers, you get a much lower CPM or cost per thousand in 'SmackDown' than you would get in a drama, or comedy, or a movie. AEW is gonna have the same issue."

If you use quotes in this article, please credit "Strictly Business with Eric Bischoff" and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.