Changing networks could bring a big change to how SmackDown is presented in 2019.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, FOX wants SmackDown to be "less comedy and more in a sports direction." FOX wants Thursday through Sunday to be a sports block, especially during football season. As of now, FOX has Thursday Night Football on their network until 2022, college football throughout the day on Saturday, and NFL games all afternoon on Sunday.
FOX wants to promote SmackDown during their football telecasts and want something more "athletically-oriented" to sell to audiences.
In a September interview with The Wrap, FOX CFO John Nallen said, “It’s a 50 to 52-week-a-year sport with no repeats. It’s a new novella every week. For us to have that kind of appointment programming, that audience, every week of the year, is a really unique opportunity for us."
SmackDown is scheduled to air Friday nights on FOX starting on October 4, 2019. The two sides officially announced the deal in June. The agreement will pay WWE over $1 billion over the course of the five-year deal.