Fox officials hosted a summit meeting on Wednesday to talk with their affiliates about the fall schedule, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. WWE was included in this summit.
It was confirmed at the meeting that SmackDown will air 51 weeks per year on Fox, and will be preempted for the World Series. It’s possible that SmackDown airs on FS1 for that one week.
Fox will also air a one-hour launch show in late September to build to the live Friday night debut on October 4 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The idea is that the one-hour special will introduce WWE and the Superstars to the Fox audience.
Fox is also in talks to bring the WWE NXT brand to TV. There’s been speculation on NXT airing on FS1, head-to-head with AEW’s weekly TNT show, but that has not been confirmed.
Regarding the weekly WWE studio show that will air on FS1 on Tuesdays, Renee Young will be the host.
Fox reportedly wants everyone to promote WWE as a legitimate sport, not that the outcomes of the matches are real, but that the WWE product is a choreographed sports presentation. WWE SmackDown will be part of the Fox sports block that runs Thursday through Sunday in the fall, along with the NFL and College Football.
It’s believed that the SmackDown 20th Anniversary special will air as the premiere episode on Fox, on October 4. WWE will begin promoting that special in mid-September. It was noted at the summit that there will be a lot of surprises on that show.
WWE and Fox are planning a major promotion that will see WWE Superstars take a moving truck to big, middle and even some of the smaller markets to promote the network change. A digital primer is also being planned, which will allow viewers to get a behind-the-scenes look at the WWE product. This primer will teach viewers some of the insider terms, according to the Observer.