NBC Cutting An Entire Hour Of Primetime Programming?

Is this a good idea?

By Douglas Helm | Published

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It looks like NBC might be looking to pare down their current slot on primetime TV. A Wall Street Journal Report says that NBC is currently in early talks to possibly turn the 10 pm ET slot over to affiliates. Naturally, this would mean that NBC would be sacrificing seven hours of primetime every week. Of course, it seems likely that their Sunday Night Football would be unaffected by the change, as they would air the games well past the 10 pm ET slot if necessary.

This move from NBC is likely a way to bring in more money against the public’s declining interest in primetime TV. Streaming services are now one of the most prominent avenues for people to enjoy their TV series, so cutting down an hour from their primetime dramas may be their way of playing into this trend. According to the sources, this move wouldn’t happen at least until Fall 2023, as the network currently has its programming locked in for the upcoming TV seasons.

If these talks come to fruition, NBC’s 10 pm ET primetime block would likely be filled by local news stations or syndications. This would trim NBC’s primetime block of television to two hours per day. Major networks like Fox and the CW already embrace the two-hour primetime window, whereas older stations like ABC and CBS still subscribe to the three-hour window. If NBC decides to pursue this course of action, shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, and even Saturday Night Live may have to move to an earlier time slot to fit into the new primetime scheduling.

In addition to pushing back late-night talk shows and Saturday Night Live, NBC would likely need to spread out some of their scripted dramas as well. For the coming TV season, NBC has scripted dramas in the 10 pm slot for Monday through Thursday, Dateline in the slot on Fridays, and SNL re-runs on Saturdays. Sundays will be taken up by the upcoming NFL season. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is some interconnectivity between the scripted dramas, with the Dick Wolf-produced Chicago shows and the Law & Order shows all getting three hours of programming. If NBC moves forward with the move, they would need to break this programming up as well.

At this point, NBC may opt to keep their primetime spot for the 2023 seasons, but that remains to be seen. Since they’re just in early talks at this point, things could always change. In the meantime, NBC is consolidating its content on the streaming service Peacock, with its content-sharing deal with Hulu officially terminated. Starting September 19, Hulu subscribers will no longer get shows like One ChicagoThe Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonLate Night with Seth Meyers, and The Voice. Instead, next-day streaming will be moving to the Peacock platform exclusively. On the bright side, Peacock subscribers also get access to Universal films 45 days after they hit theaters, thanks to the deal they made with Universal last year.