SmackDown is broadcast live on Tuesday nights on the USA Network. The show used to be broadcast on Thursday nights but moved to Friday on September 9, 2005, before returning to Thursdays on January 15, 2015. On July 19, 2016, it was moved to a live broadcast on Tuesday night. SmackDown! debuted in the United States on the UPN television network on April 29, 1999, but after the merger of UPN and the WB, SmackDown! began airing on The CW in September 2006. The show was moved to MyNetworkTV in October 2008, to Syfy on October 1, 2010 and to USA Network on January 7, 2016. It complements Raw as the second of WWE's two main weekly programs. As of March 3, 2017, all archived episodes of the show are available for on demand viewing via the WWE Network.
SmackDown has been broadcast from 163 arenas, in 148 cities and towns, in seven different countries (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq in 2003 and 2004 for Tribute to the Troops, Japan in 2005, Italy in 2007, and Mexico in 2011). Prior to switching to the current live format, taped episodes premiered a few hours earlier in Ireland and the United Kingdom and a day earlier in Australia, Canada, Singapore, and Philippines than the United States, due to time differences. For international broadcast listings, see below. The show celebrated its 15th anniversary on October 10, 2014, and its 900th episode on November 15, 2016.
The early set included an oval-shaped TitanTron entrance and stage (dubbed the "Ovaltron") which made it stand out from the Raw set with its rectangular Titantrons. Later productions gained the ability to move the Ovaltron either to the left or to the right of the stage. Throughout the show's early existence, The Rock routinely called SmackDown! "his show", in reference to the fact that the name was derived from one of his catchphrases, "Layeth the smack down". In August 2001, as part of celebrating SmackDown!'s second anniversary, the show received a new logo and set, which consisted of a fist centered above the entrance, and many glass panes along the sides strongly resembling shattered glass.
In March 2002, WWE underwent the "brand extension", a process in which WWE divided itself into two branches. The two divisions, Raw and SmackDown!, would compete against each other. The brand extension was made public during a telecast of Raw on March 18, 2002, and became official on the April 1, 2002, episode of Raw.
WWE's "lame duck" status with Viacom on Spike TV may have prompted it to move SmackDown! to the Friday night death slot for the fall 2005 season. UPN received better ratings on Fridays than it did before with its movie night. In addition, UPN had been able to hold on to the ratings from Thursday nights, most notably with comedian Chris Rock's sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. In January 2006, UPN renewed SmackDown' for two more years. After Star Trek: Enterprise had been cancelled, SmackDown moved into Enterprise's former timeslot. WWE promoted this move with the tagline "TV that's changing Friday nights." SmackDown! made its season premiere on September 9, 2005.