Idiot Box: Nbc Goes Streaming With Peacock

Nbc Goes Streaming With Peacock

Devin D. O'Leary
4 min read
David Schwimmer in Peacock’s “Intelligence”
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If you’re a high-tech media connoisseur, you’re probably already subscribing to the major over-the-top streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+), as well as a few of the lesser ones (Shudder, Crackle, Vudu, YouTube Premium, DC Direct), in addition to waiting eagerly for several up-and-coming streaming services to add to the list (Quibi and HBO Max, both arriving later this year). Just think of all the money you’re saving, you savvy cord-cutter, paying each of these companies individually instead of your old cable TV bill! Well, hold on—because NBC, the network you currently get for free over the airwaves, would like you to start forking over some more of that sweet subscription video on demand money.

NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast (yes, the very cable company you tried to ditch), just announced plans to launch its own proprietary streaming service, starting July of 2020. Like reruns? Specifically reruns of old NBC shows? Peacock has got you covered!

Peacock believes it will distinguish itself from its competitors by offering several “tiers” of service, including a free version. Just like regular broadcast TV, Peacock Free will be “advertisement driven.” (In other words: There will be commercials.) The service claims 7,500 hours of programming, including “next day” access to current seasons of “first-year” NBC shows. (“Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For the Bone Collector” fans, you are
golden.) Complete seasons of “classic” series and a handful of Universal movies will also be available for streaming at launch.

Fork over $5.99 a month, however, and you’ll get Peacock Premium. It still has advertising, but you get live sports (Premier League soccer games begin in August) and “early access” to late night shows. For what it’s worth ($5.99, evidently), you can now watch “Late Night with Seth Meyers” at 8pm (MST) instead of waiting until 11:35pm. (It’s a good bet that some of that “live sports” coverage will be select portions of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which NBC has the rights to.) Peacock Premium also promises to feature “live breaking news” and full episodes of the news magazine show “Dateline.”

But, wait. That’s not all! Up your subscription rate to $9.99 a month and you’ll get the exact same stuff, only without commercial interruptions. By way of comparison, CBS All Access is also $5.99 a month with commercials and $9.99 a month without. Comcast and Cox cable subscribers, it should be noted, will get free access to Peacock Premium with ads or can pay $5 more a month for the ad-free version—so bully on you guys.

Among the “classic” stuff available for viewing on Peacock will be familiar NBC faves like “Law & Order,” “Chicago Fire,” “30 Rock,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Cheers” and “Frasier.” High-profile NBC shows “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” are still on loan to Hulu and won’t be back under NBC’s control until at least 2021. (Entertainment industry deep dive: NBCUniversal used to be a major partner in Hulu, but Disney acquired it in 2019, and now nobody else wants to participate. NBC’s deal to air “day after” network shows on Hulu doesn’t fully expire for three more years. So, for the time being, you can still watch “Saturday Night Live” on Sunday mornings on Hulu.)

Like crosstown rival CBS All Access, Peacock is also slated to start producing new, original series that spotlight longtime network talent. Tina Fey, for example, will executive produce “Girls5Eva”—about an all-girl musical act from the ’90s that reunites for another shot at stardom. “Friends” actor David Schwimmer, meanwhile, has been tapped to star in “Intelligence”—a comic thriller about a maverick American intelligence agent and a hapless British computer analyst. Future Peacock plans include a reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” (by “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail) and new versions of “Saved By the Bell” and “Punky Brewster.” If a new “Punky Brewster” isn’t worth 10 hard-earned smackers a month, I don’t know what is.

You can subscribe to Peacock staring July 15.
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