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WWE Seeks New TV Home After Failing to Renew With USA

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(Corrects fourth paragraph of story published Feb. 18 for description of NBC’s rights in New York Post report.)

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is seeking a new home for its “Raw” and “Smackdown” shows after failing to renew an agreement to air the programs on Comcast Corp.’s USA and SyFy cable networks.

“We look forward to engaging with potential partners who recognize the value of having the No. 1 show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year,” Stamford, Connecticut-based WWE said today in an e-mailed statement.

WWE angered distributors including DirecTV by starting a subscription streaming network earlier this month that provides matches previously available on pay-per-view and programming unavailable on television. “Raw” was USA’s most-watched show in the week ended Feb. 9, according to Nielsen data, and the program regularly ranks among the week’s most-watched on cable television.

NBCUniversal has matching rights, with some limits, if WWE reaches a deal with another network, the New York Post reported this week.

Hilary Smith, a spokeswoman for NBCUniversal, declined to comment.

WWE fell 1.1 percent to $23.24 at the close in New York. The stock has more than doubled in the past year. Comcast declined 0.3 percent to $53.53.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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