Barbash has been unofficially working as the main 205 Live writer ever since RAW Executive Director Paul Heyman brought Jonathan Baeckstrom to the red brand a month or so ago, but now the role is official.
As noted, a major WWE creative team shake-up was finalized this week. Ryan Ward is now out as the lead writer for SmackDown and the official word is that he is on a personal leave. There had been a feeling that blue brand changes were inevitable and Vince McMahon has been making heavy edits to the SmackDown scripts as of late. With Ward gone from SmackDown, Ed Koskey is the new lead writer for the blue brand, and will be working with SmackDown Executive Director Eric Bischoff now. Koskey, who has been with WWE for more than 18 years, had been working as the head RAW writer. Koskey also work as WWE's Vice President of Creative Writing and has worked as a top writer for more than 10 years. Baeckstrom is the new RAW lead writer, and will be working with Heyman. Baeckstrom had worked as the head 205 Live writer since November 2016.
Regarding Ward's personal leave, Casey of Squared Circle Sirens noted on Twitter that he recently got married. That could have something to do with his leave.
We've noted several times how WWE plans on making roster and creative changes as we go into the fall season, and the SmackDown Fox premiere on Friday, October 4. The idea come October is that the writers, the announce teams and the wrestlers will all be exclusive to their own brands. The WWE Draft, which is scheduled to begin on the October 11 SmackDown from Las Vegas and then end on the October 14 RAW from Denver, will be the biggest of a series of changes that are being done to "freshen up" everything. Meltzer noted that the rosters that were created in the 2019 Superstar Shake-up, the current rosters, will likely be the talent line-ups coming out of the Draft, but there will be some notable roster moves and some of those moves could see WWE NXT Superstars get sent to RAW or SmackDown.
It was also noted that there has always been somewhat separate crews for RAW and SmackDown, but the writers have been interchangeable because the talents are. It's hard to have exclusive writing teams when the wrestlers are appearing on both shows. There will always be exceptions, but the idea is that there will be more brand exclusivity beginning in the fall. In regards to the "freshening up" of the rosters, it was noted that Bischoff and Heyman will likely be able to get certain guys that they want assigned to their rosters. Meltzer added that there has been a running backstage joke on Bischoff not even knowing who the talents are yet.