TV5 and WWE officially announced their partnership Thursday morning at the Shangri-La at The Fort. After many years, WWE programming will once again be available on Philippine free TV as TV5 airs Smackdown Live starting this Sunday at 3 pm.
“The idea for this was crystallized in September in Singapore when we heard Stephanie McMahon speak and how she described the eco-system of the WWE. From live events to TV production to social media, the WWE did everything so well and that’s when I really felt it could work with TV5,” said TV5 President and CEO Chot Reyes.
“It’s an iconic brand, a great organization so we’re really happy to forge a partnership with them,” he added. “After a few months of discussion and further fine-tuning, we have come to this point and on Sunday we will have the inaugural telecast of Smackdown Live. We’re very proud and honored that the WWE has chosen TV5 to be the home of the WWE here in the Philippines.”
For the first week, Smackdown Live, which features stars such as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, AJ Styles, U.S. Champion Kevin Owens, and former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, will be broadcasted in its entirety just a few days after it airs on U.S. television. After that, Smackdown Live will retain its 3 pm time slot but will instead feature a one-hour version.
“We found that the one-hour edition of Smackdown worked very well in other markets on free-to-air. It’s a good format to begin with,” Reyes said. “It’s been almost a decade since Smackdown was last seen on free-to-air television in the Philippines. We want to start with this but who knows what we can have in the future.”
Asked about the possibility of airing other WWE shows in the Kapatid Network, WWE GM for Asia Pacific Chris Marsh said that they are currently in negotiations.
Marsh said that the availability on free TV will give the WWE a bigger reach in the Philippines to attract more loyal fans.
“It’s an exciting day. We’re privileged to work with TV5 to bring the WWE to the Filipino fans,” Marsh said. “As you all know Smackdown Live is episodic in nature but all of the storylines flow for the entire year and we’re proud to say that the Filipino fans will get to watch all of action on TV5. Fifty-two weeks in a year with absolutely no off-season.”
Sports5 Head Patricia Hizon added that they decided to give Smackdown Live a slot in the channel’s packed Sunday schedule to make it available for more viewers.
“Growing up, I was a huge WWE fan and what I remember about it is watching it with family,” Hizon said. “That feeling is something we want to replicate so we decided to put Smackdown Live on Sundays at 3 pm.”
Hizon also clarified that the show will not be dubbed in Filipino and instead aired a short message from former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins who is proudly Filipino. However, Perkins will not be appearing in Smackdown Live as he is a 205 Live and Raw talent.
This week’s Smackdown Live will air before the last leg of the 2017 PBA All Star Week, which will be in Cebu.
“First, we invite all of the fans to watch the First Smackdown Live this Sunday and then watch me and Gilas Pilipinas take on the Visayas All Stars to complete your action-packed day.”