Alibi V.29 No.28 • July 9-15, 2020 

Idiot Box

Peacocking

NBC streaming shows its feathers

“Intelligence” on Peacock
“Intelligence” on Peacock

On July 15 broadcast network NBC’s first foray into the world of streaming begins with Peacock. Yes, like CBS All Access, you’ll soon have the privilege of paying for all those sitcoms you used to watch for free on a broadcast network. NBC proper won’t be going away (for now), but this is definitely a glimpse into the future of Hollywood.

Peacock intends to stream shows that originally ran on NBC, of course. You’ll be able to watch your favorite episodes of “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Frasier,” “House” and “Saturday Night Live” on demand whenever you like. But not all NBC shows will be available at launch. Smash hit “The Office,” for example, is under contract with Netflix until 2021. So you’ll have to wait until then to get your Dunder-Mifflin on. NBC’s parent corporation, NBCUniversal (which is, in turn, owned by Comcast), also owns Bravo, Syfy, USA and Telemundo, so viewers can expect some bleedover from those cable networks. NBCUniversal encompasses the Universal Pictures library as well, which will figure heavily into Peacock’s content. That means Jurassic Park, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future and … uh, Fifty Shades of Grey all figure into Peacock’s master plan. Reportedly there will be over 600 movies and 400 series for you to binge. The service also plans to offer live news, sports and late-night shows.

Interestingly, Peacock is starting out with a split pricing model—which basically means you can watch it for free with ads, or pay a monthly fee to go ad-free. Those who opt for the free version will also have some limited access to content. You won’t be able to view every show with the free tier. (No word yet on what shows are or are not restricted.) If you wanna fork over a little dough, you have the option of paying $5 a month for full access with ads, or $10 a month for ad-free. Customers of cable providers Comcast and Cox get a bit of a price break. They get full access with ads for absolutely free—but can still pay $5 per month if they want ad-free.

To make things in this new, modern era of media dissemination even more confusing, NBCUniversal struck a licensing deal for Peacock to stream some programming from ViacomCBS, which operates its own rival streaming service CBS All Access. This allows Peacock to stream shows that originally ran on CBS, Showtime and the CW. Among the picks so far: “Ray Donovan,” “The Affair,” “Undercover Boss,” “The Game,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” The deal isn’t exclusive, of course, so you’ll still see this stuff on CBS All Access. And CBS is keeping a tight grip on its most lucrative IPs like “Star Trek,” “CSI,” “NCIS” and “The Good Wife.” Certain films from Paramount Pictures’ library (which is owned by ViacomCBS) are also included. (Look for The Godfather, Catch Me If You Can, The Talented Mr. Ripley, American Beauty, Patriot Games, Fatal Attraction, The Firm and An Officer and a Gentleman.)

On top of the reruns, the movies and the content from other streaming sites, Peacock will feature some original content, both films and series. Among the new shows hitting Peacock on launch day are an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal 1932 dystopian novel “Brave New World” (a clear attempt to jump on the “Westworld”/“The Handmaid’s Tale” bandwagon). “The Capture” is described as a “thought-provoking” spy/surveillance drama co-produced by the BBC. David Schwimmer (yeah, Ross from “Friends”) stars in “Intelligence,” an action-comedy about a maverick American intelligence agent teamed up with a hapless British computer analyst. (That one’s a co-production with England’s Sky One.) For the kids in the audience, Peacock is offering a trio of animated shows: “Curious George,” “Cleopatra in Space” and “Where’s Waldo?” The last two are produced by DreamWorks Animation (home to Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Trolls). Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks at long-gone race tracks in the sporting documentary series “Lost Speedways,” In Deep With Ryan Lochte is a documentary feature about the former Olympic swimming champ known mostly these days for his appearances on reality shows like “Dancing With the Stars,” “Celebrity Big Brother” and “Celebrity Family Feud.” And finally, fans of the hit 2006 to 2014 USA series “Psych” will be psyched to hear that the crime comedy is being revived with the feature film Psych 2: Lassie Come Home.

Peacock launches July 15 on streaming devices (Apple devices, Google devices, Xbox consoles, various smart TVs). For more info go to peacocktv.com.