WWE is presenting regular TV episodes during this Coronavirus pandemic which took a lot of effort. The TV airing also included WrestleMania 36 over two nights but on a taped format.
The same format was expected to be carried out throughout the ongoing month until the COVID-19 situation becomes right. But the taping format is likely to change yet again as WWE has decided to go back to live TV, once again.
WWE will reportedly be going back to live episodes with RAW, SmackDown, and NXT from the NXT Performance Center in Orlando, Florida beginning this week. The shows will continue without a live audience.
Earlier the situation was that WWE would do enough tapings to bring in episodes until May 10th. Considering the current economic situation, it felt right to bank episodes for the future as much as possible. But then again the decision was changed courtesy of The Boss.
In an update from F4WOnline.com, the change came from Vince McMahon on Friday. WWE production was taping SmackDown and 205 Live when Vince McMahon decided to change things up and keeps the shows “as close to live as soon as possible.” He is being forced to do so as there’s pressure from the networks where WWE airs Raw and SmackDown episodes.
The possible reason for WWE returning to live TV is coming via WWE’s contracts with NBC Universal and FOX. Both these networks allow for a certain amount of taped shows during the year. (possibly the count should not be more than three per year)
There’s a chance that If WWE goes beyond that amount – for RAW or SmackDown, FOX and NBC could change up the deals. WWE has already canceled live events in April and postponed the European tour in early May.
It means TV revenue remains their main source of income and they can’t compromise it, at all. WWE’s next PPV, Money in the Bank, has also been canceled from the original host venue, the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
With the current pandemic going on, networks are bringing in fewer revenues and may need to make some cuts bringing fear within WWE.
It’s still unknown whether FOX and NBC pressured McMahon to get back on live TV as the TV ratings continue to fall. With no more sport available to air in a live format, networks are in need of WWE’s programming right now. So it may be unlikely they would outright cut WWE from their channels.
But WWE will still not be taking any chance despite going live means bringing in WWE Superstars and crew each week to the shows during COVID-19 outbreak. It may cause bigger problems especially with Florida issuing a stay-at-home mandate throughout the month of April.