Syfy picks up 'Friday Night Smackdown'

11:30 AM PST 04/13/2010 by James Hibberd, AP

WWE program to air on cable network starting in October

There's nothing more sci-fi than ... competitive wrestling.

Syfy has announced a multiyear agreement bringing World Wrestling Entertainment's "Friday Night SmackDown" to the network starting in October. The move will shift the network's longtime Friday night drama series block to Tuesday nights.

It's just the network's latest step away from its sci-fi roots, a transition that began in earnest last year with the rebranding of the channel to Syfy.

"WWE is the ultimate in imagination-based sports entertainment," Syfy programming president Dave Howe said. "The fantastical thrills of 'Friday Night SmackDown' provide an ideal addition to the Syfy slate, as it targets the younger male and female demographics, which are the fastest-growing categories for WWE."

Adding wresting to the network's Tuesday nights should help its series "Caprica" and "Stargate: Universe" reach a larger audience, he said.

The "SmackDown" franchise helped bolster lineups at the CW and MyNetworkTV. The series averages about 3.4 million viewers a week and scores particularly well among men 18-34.

Got tips on TV industry news? Contact TV Editor James Hibberd at james.hibberd@thr.com.
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