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More Details On Eric Bischoff’s Smackdown Role: Timeline Of When He Agreed, How Important Job Is Compared To Heyman’s RAW Role, More

July 4, 2019 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Eric Bischoff Smackdown

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter for this week has more notes on the hiring of Eric Bischoff as the Executive Director of Smackdown, where he will be in charge of creative and answer only to Vince McMahon. As we previously noted, it was thought that Triple H would be the more likely candidate for the role, given his knowledge of the business, particularly the modern scene, and his work with NXT. It’s believed that Bischoff has even less knowledge of the modern product than most people originally thought, although that doesn’t mean he won’t adapt, learn or be able to succeed.

It’s believed that Bischoff’s meeting with WWE in Stamford happened a few days after the TV tapings in Northern California on June 10-11. That likely means that the deal was finalized around or before June 25. On that day, Bischoff cancelled a series of appearances in Canada, stating that he signed a contract that would keep him from appearing.

There have been some who have questioned Bischoff getting the job, as it’s considered more important than Heyman’s job at this time due to how “sink-or-swim” it is. This is due to the fact Smackdown is going to network television in October with the FOX deal. Even if RAW keeps dropping in the ratings, it’s still a strong program for USA, which doesn’t have any other real hit shows at the moment. FOX, meanwhile, doesn’t need wrestling as much as USA does. They think they’re getting a reliable sports-related program which they can use to cross-promote their other sports coverage. Rating demands for network TV are higher and Smackdown has been less popular than RAW for fifteen years.

It’s also believed, however, that Bischoff has more advantages than Heyman. Heyman just needs to steady the decline of RAW or even grow to be considered a success, but that would involve him reversing a trend that has been going on for years. Bischoff on the other hand, is going to be in charge of a show that will likely increase quite a bit just from the move and will look good for at least a year in direct viewer comparisons. FOX is available in 120 million homes compared to USA’s 89 million. Smackdown is expected to improve 34% in viewers just from the debut on FOX alone. Something similar happened when it moved from Syfy to USA a few years ago, although this should be a much larger increase. Of course, that will be impacted by 20% due to the move to Friday.

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Eric Bischoff, Joseph Lee