Smackdown Makes Way for Katrina Telethon

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The debut of UPN’s Smackdown wrestlefest in its new two-hour Friday night slot will be abbreviated to accommodate the broadcast of the multi-network telethon for victims of Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 9.

The recently renamed Friday Night Smackdown was moved from its Thursday slot to make way for this fall’s “it” series (among TV critics, at least), Everybody Hates Chris, which bows Sept. 22.

The Hurricane relief special, Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast, will air from 8-9 p.m. ET on Friday. During that hour, Smackdown will stream exclusively on the Web at

Following the concert, Smackdown will air from 9-10 p.m. On the evening’s fight card: Batista vs. JBL (in a “bull rope match”); a tag team bout between Road Warrior Animal and Heidenreich vs. MNM; Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio (in a steel-cage match); and Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Johnson.

Starting Sept. 16, the show settles into its regular Friday 8-10 p.m. slot.