NBC Could Give Third Hour Of Nightly Primetime Back To Local Affiliates

NBC is considering giving back 10 p.m. prime time to local partners, a potentially important tipping point for legacy broadcast tv pattern.

According to a person familiar with the situation, internal discussions have been going on at Comcast-owned NBCU for several years, and no firm decision has been reached. Given the complex web of agreements with affiliates and advertisers, one year from now is the earliest a move may be made.

“We are always looking at strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. “As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide viewers with the content they love across broadcast, cable and streaming.”

ABC, CBS and NBC have each offered at least three hours of national primetime programming for decades. As new challengers such as Fox and The CW arrived on the scene, they scored an asterisk for many industry observers, due to the fact that they only programmed for two hours a night. Until a few years ago, The CW didn’t even air anything on Saturday nights and then recently moved to Sunday programming all seven days a week, although the allocation is still two hours each night, as is the case for Fox. .

Nightly programs for broadcast networks, especially the legacy Big Three, have already begun to reflect changing times. Given the difficulty of launching and maintaining popular shows based primarily on their popularity on linear TV, live sports and non-scripted fare have begun to dominate the grid. However, the rights to the game are growing rapidly, and NBCU has a few expensive additions to the NFL and the college’s Big Ten Conference. Those deals include provisions for live games to be shown only on streaming, which is another sign of the times.

Reducing commitment to broadcast primetime hours would ease financial pressure NBCUniversal At a time when viewership and pay-TV subscription levels continue to decline, in terms of funding a linear lineup. Companies like NBCU are increasingly looking at their entire portfolios across streaming, linear and other platforms, and managing what they see as the most profitable results. Already, the long-established practice of investing in pilots and then picking some of them up to series has begun to crumble as full-season greenlights became commonplace during the streaming era.

The restructuring of NBCU’s management has signaled a strategic direction of things, with longtime sports legend Mark Lazarus now serving as president of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. Peacock, the streaming service launched by NBCU two years ago, generated more than $1 billion in ad revenue, according to estimates for sales in the company’s upfront marketplace. The lines have become increasingly blurred between broadcast, cable and streaming in terms of their respective programming strategies.

when local tv Businesses face similar challenges to those facing broadcast and cable network owners, with stations seeing an unexpected drop in political advertising. News programming, which has raised syndicated fares on many stations in recent years, is cheap to produce and has proven to be a reliable ratings draw in many markets, especially newspapers and radio stations.

1 owner of local TV stations, Nexstar Media Group recently closed its acquisition of The CW, offering another point of intersection between the local and national TV segments.

wall street journal Was the first to report on the deliberations.