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Syfy Pins Down 'Smackdown' Franchise

Syfy traded up World Wrestling Entertainment franchises Tuesday, acquiring the popular Friday Night SmackDown series in a multi-year deal and dropping its WWE NXT reality series franchise beginning in October.

Syfy will air the two-hour, weekly Friday Night Smackdown series, currently airing on broadcast station MyNetworkTV, on Fridays -- traditionally a night slated for the premiere of Syfy original series -- beginning Oct. 1, according to Syfy officials.

The 10-year old SmackDown franchise averages more than 3.4 million viewers a week, according to Syfy officials.

Syfy will move its original shows such as Carpica and Sanctuary to Tuesday nights, replacing the WWE NXT reality series, which launched this past February. The WWE is talking to other networks about distributing WWE NXT but no deals are imminent, according to company officials.

"The fantastical thrills of Friday Night SmackDown provide an ideal addition to the Syfy slate, as it targets the younger male and female demographics, which are the fastest growing categories for WWE," said Syfy president Dave Howe in a statement. "With Tuesday night, a proven winner for our original drama series including Warehouse 13, there is bigger opportunity for series such as Stargate Universe, Sanctuary and Caprica to thrive on a night with a significantly larger number of viewers available to watch live."

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.