For this latest cycle, early reports indicate that WWE's outlook could be very, very different.
According to Belloni, WWE and NBCUniversal are working on a TV rights deal for Raw that would triple the value of their current contract, so NBCUniversal would then allow SmackDown Live to go to the highest bidder.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that WWE SmackDown is now being shopped around to various networks as NBCUniversal has declined to renew the deal for the USA Network.
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It sounds like NBCUniversal is able to afford airing Raw only so Smackdown Live may have to find a new network to call home. If it's true that WWE can get an increase from NBC for Raw and add a new deal to SmackDown from a new network on top of that, it could make Vince McMahon a much richer man.
WWE and NBCU both declined comment on the negotiations, which are still underway. FOX is said to be among the networks interested in WWE programming so the show could land there.
SmackDown Live has aired on USA Network since July 2016, and it has been under the NBCUniversal umbrella dating back to 2010, when it was on Syfy. Throughout much of its existence, SmackDown has been seen as secondary to Raw, no matter how much WWE would do to present the two shows as equal.