Fightful is reporting that there was talk in July about there being a strained relationship between WWE and FOX.
A source admitted to Fightful that FOX was disappointed with WWE’s viewership compared to what they were expecting when they made the deal to bring them onto the network. When FOX first made the deal with WWE, Dave Meltzer reported at the time that the network was expecting somewhere around 3.3 million viewers. WWE drew 3.9 million viewers for their debut broadcast that featured The Rock but they have not come close to that since then and they usually hover somewhere around 2 million viewers.
Another thing that FOX is reportedly not thrilled with is SmackDown being used to promote another service. Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal but FOX has their own streaming services such as Tubi and Fox Nation that they would rather promote but WWE promotes Peacock since that is the service that hosts their pay-per-view events.
Fightful also reports that FOX owner Rupert Murdoch feels that it’s a “childish move” that is will likely be portrayed in a not so flattering way on the upcoming Vince McMahon scripted series. The press release for “The United States vs. Vince McMahon” notes that Murdoch purchased the New York Post and Post writer Phil Mushnick regularly took shots at McMahon and WWE in his columns. The press release claimed that headlines in the newspaper captured the attention of the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office and that is what led to McMahon getting indicted for steroid distribution. McMahon was later found not guilty.
A WWE source claimed to Fightful that WWE’s relationship between the two families is one of “great respect.” McMahon and WWE President Nick Khan reportedly met with FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks and head of production Brad Zager and the meeting was said to be productive from WWE’s end.
There was said to have been talk of doing an episode of Raw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles but Khan and McMahon killed the idea since FOX Sports is a Los Angeles-based company. It was then decided to have SmackDown take place in Los Angeles on December 10.
Earlier this month, Dave Meltzer reported that FOX wasn’t happy about WWE not trying harder to sign CM Punk and FOX even offered to help meet the price tag needed to sign him.