Despite dwindling ratings for the show, WWE Friday Night SmackDown will remain a focal part of the FOX family throughout the 2022/23 television season.
WWE’s weekly television ratings are constantly a hot topic within pro wrestling discourse Friday Night SmackDown, in particular, varies on a week-by-week basis, though the blue brand did recently post its lowest rating on FOX in almost a year.
Despite this, the blue brand is regarded as a “ratings victory” for FOX, who will continue to promote the programme through the upcoming television season. FOX issued a press release that listed SmackDown as “ongoing” for the duration of the 2022/23 season.
WWE and FOX had initially come to terms on a five-year deal in May 2018, with the deal coming into effect with SmackDown’s 4 October 2019 broadcast. That episode drew 3,869,000 viewers with a 1.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic; this helped FOX as a network finish second that evening, behind only CBS.
For comparison, the previous week’s episode on the USA Network had over a million less viewers, raking in just 2,099,000 viewers. Although Dave Meltzer had predicted over four million viewers for the brand’s debut on FOX, its actual viewership was still a huge step in the right direction for WWE.
SmackDown’s 2022 ratings records initially saw the brand draw in regular audiences of over two million viewers, though the 22 April broadcast began a ratings decline. The latest episode, aired 3 June and headlined by The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Riddle, pulled in 1,939,000 viewers.
Tonight’s (10 June) broadcast currently has three matches lined up; Ricochet will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Gunther, plus qualifiers will commence for both the men’s and women’s Money in the Bank ladder matches. Drew McIntyre faces Sheamus, while Lacey Evans competes for the first time since February 2021 against Xia Li.