news 1 month ago

WWE’s ‘NXT’ Moves to USA Network as Wrestling Competition Heats Up

Variety — Cynthia Littleton

WWE has struck a deal to move its “NXT” franchise focusing on rising stars to USA Network starting next month.

NXT” will shift to USA from the WWE Network subscription streaming service as of Sept. 18. The deal comes as USA is about to lose WWE’s “SmackDown” showcase to Fox starting in October. USA is also the home of WWE’s “Raw.” USA is adding the Wednesday night showcase as the WWE faces new challenges from upstart wrestling leagues including TNT’s plan to launch a weekly showcase for All Elite Wrestling on Oct. 2.

“The move to USA Network provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with NBCUniversal and further build the ‘NXT’ brand,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman-CEO. “Over the long term our goal is to develop a following that can be monetized to the same level as our flagship programs, ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown.’ ”

“NXT” premiered in 2010 and has grown to encompass nearly 200 live events around the world each year. The programs ranks as WWE Network’s most-watched show. “NXT” will remain in its familiar Wednesday 8 p.m. time slot after the move to USA. The show is produced out of the WWE’s Full Sail University training facility in Orlando, Fla.

“USA Network and WWE have one of the longest and most successful partnerships in television history,” said Chris McCumber, president of entertainment networks for USA and Syfy. “As the No. 1 cable entertainment network, we’re excited to add ‘NXT’ to our weekly lineup alongside powerhouse flagship ‘Raw,’ and to bring a new generation of Superstars to a wide audience.”

News of the “NXT” pact with USA sent WWE’s stock price up 2% in early trading Tuesday.

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.