The belief was that WWE could end up on FOX and if that did happen then Monday Night Raw would go to FOX while SmackDown Live would go to FOX Sports 1. As such, WWE would potentially want to tailor SmackDown Live for a new demographic, which in turn could mean Raw and SmackDown Live adopting identities specific to their respective networks.
Especially after the brand extension in 2016, it wouldn't hurt to create more separation between WWE's two biggest weekly programs.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that WWE SmackDown is now being shopped around to various networks as NBCUniversal has declined to renew the deal for the USA Network.
NBCU and WWE declined to comment on the negotiations, which are still-ongoing.
NBCU took over the rights for SmackDown in 2010, and started airing the show on SyFy before moving it to USA Network in 2016.
This won't be the first time both Raw and Smackdown will be on different TV channels as the shows were separated in the early '00s. The show now garners the sixth-biggest audience among cable originals. WWE programming is an obvious fit for the "new Fox" focused on sports and live events and SmackDown could anchor Fox programming on Tuesday nights. Not only do they get to keep their long-standing relationship with NBC/USA, but they would also have the energy of another media conglomerate behind them in Fox.