NXT isn’t the first WWE show to be airing on The CW Network when it debuts there in October 2024 and WWE’s history with the network dates back to the start of Smackdown.
When Smackdown started airing in the United States on April 29, 1999, the show’s home was UPN and UPN later merged with The WB to become The CW. Officially, Smackdown moved to Friday nights on The CW in September 2005 and it remained on the network until October 2008 where it then moved to MyNetworkTV.
PWInsider.com, which broke the story about NXT making the move to The CW Network, said that the deal is in the range of up to $37 million per year, an increase from the $15 million a year that NBCUniversal were paying for the show on USA Network. The numbers however do not align with what TKO said on Tuesday during the conference call where TKO and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said that they are getting a 70% increase in television rights from The CW Network for NXT over their previous deal.
Brad Schwartz, Entertainment President at The CW Network, posted on his LinkedIn that he’s “not sure who is more psyched…teenage me or current me,” after news broke that NXT is moving. He also posted a link to a Deadline.com story adding, “Big news for wrestling fans!!!”
Schwartz was the Pop Media Group President when TNA Wrestling aired on POP TV and was instrumental in bringing the brand to that station. He became Entertainment President of The CW in November 2022.