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Milestone for ‘Smackdown’

March 15, 2009 8:00 PM

For the 500th time, heads will be locked and legs will be dropped as “Friday Night Smackdown” celebrates an episode-count milestone on Friday, March 20.

“Smackdown” has grappled on several networks since its launch in 1999, first on UPN, then The CW and now, in its ninth season, on MyNetworkTV.

While other scripted programs have hit the 500-episode mark (“WWE Raw” is nearing 825 episodes), according to the WWE, “Smackdown” has reached it faster than any other episodic show on broadcast TV.

“It’s an amazing story and an amazing accomplishment, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it,” Paul Franklin, MyNet executive VP, said.

The show has set records on MyNet, landing a 2.3 household rating on Feb. 23—the network’s highest ever—and nearly 4 million viewers. Compared with MyNet’s Friday night ratings performance last year, “Smackdown” is up 200% in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

“There’s no end in sight for this thing. This show is going to go on long beyond our lives,” Mr. Franklin said.

Despite the new programming model for MyNet next year, Mr. Franklin said viewers will see zero change in “Smackdown,” as it will continue to remain anchored on Friday nights.

He said the 10th anniversary of “Smackdown” will more than likely kick off MyNet’s 2009-10 season.

—Andrew Krukowski

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