FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has explained why they've "moved on" from WWE and why the SmackDown brand will return to NBCUniversal in 2024.
Murdoch told investors during FOX’s Q1 Earnings call that SmackDown was "not hitting the advertising numbers due to the audience of the WWE for our return on investment to be above the levels that we would accept". He then went on to admit that FOX "didn’t attribute enough significant retransmission revenue to the WWE either".
In short, higher-ups at FOX decided WWE's show wasn't meeting "disciplined parameters". So, ultimately, the call was made not to renew SmackDown in the end. Instead, the Friday night show will air on USA Network once the deal expires next year.
FOX initially put a lot of eyeballs on the show by heavily advertising it during other programming. Ads for SmackDown had started to dry up during NFL broadcasts a while back though. Football fans weren't treated to commentators talking about Hulk Hogan or The Rock during breaks in play, basically.
It's interesting that Lachlan admits FOX must take some responsibility for how things ended. Even so, they're ready to move on from WWE.