As noted earlier, via PWInsider, there has been a pitch over the last 48 hours to have the WWE NXT series moved to Wednesday nights on the USA Network. The show would air from 8pm – 10pm ET, putting it head-to-head with AEW’s new weekly TNT series. The report stated that NXT would begin airing on USA the same night as AEW premieres on TNT – Wednesday, October 2. It was also noted that the idea is that the series would graduate to a weekly, live two-hour show from Full Sail Live on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
In an update, word now is that NXT could premiere on the USA Network before October 2. Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that Vince McMahon is looking to “get the jump,” which means NXT would premiere before AEW on TNT.
It was also reported that WWE officials have discussed airing NXT live each week from Full Sail, but they have also discussed going live every other week.
We’ve noted how there have been talks of NXT airing on FS1 each Wednesday night to go along with SmackDown moving to Fox on Friday, October 4. Apparently one of the issues with NXT airing on FS1 was the Big East Basketball schedule. The 2018-2019 season ran from December-March and FS1 aired more than 100 games, including all 90 regular season games. There’s no word yet on if there would be similar issues with the USA schedule, but it doesn’t look to be a problem.
It was noted on Observer Radio that the USA Network is in more homes than FS1, and is a higher-rated base. USA currently reaches around 91 million homes in the United States while FS1 is available in around 85 million homes. One advantage of airing NXT on FS1 would be the heavy promotion from Fox. We know that Fox has committed to heavy promotion for WWE once SmackDown premieres in October, but it’s possible they would cut back on that promotion if USA is airing 2 of the 3 weekly live in-ring shows WWE has. FS1 will still air the weekly WWE in-studio show on Tuesday nights. Meltzer noted that a big plus for WWE taking NXT to USA was that WWE fans are already very familiar with watching the product on USA.
As noted, USA previously aired a special NXT episode on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 as a part of their WWE Week programming. That show drew 841,000 viewers.
There’s no word yet on what NXT on cable would mean for the WWE Network line-up. A third hour airing each week on the WWE Network seems unlikely as that could hurt the product, but dropping the exclusive show could upset some of the WWE Network subscribers. Many international viewers rely on the WWE Network to get their weekly NXT viewing, and WWE still airs the show internationally with TV providers such as OSN in the Middle East, Sky Italia in Italy, J Sports in Japan, Viva Sports in Mexico, Fox Sports Latinoamérica in Latin America, Fox Asia in The Philippines, and Sony TEN in India, among others.
NXT taped another round of TV episodes on Thursday at Full Sail Live, which should carry them to the September 11 airing. They have a set of sold out back-to-back TV tapings scheduled for mid-September, but they could always cancel the second night and use the first night to tape them up to the live USA Network premiere.
An announcement on the future of NXT is expected very soon as we’re already under two months away from what could be the kickoff to the WWE vs. AEW Wednesday Night Wars. There’s no official confirmation that NXT is headed to USA or FS1, but multiple sources are reporting that everything is in play. Meltzer pointed to how the TV industry usually moves at a slow pace when making decisions and major moves like this, but things would have to move fairly fast as we get closer to the first of October.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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