NBC may cut 10:00 p.m. prime time for local programming

NBC plans to cede its hour of 10 p.m. primetime programming to local stations, Variety confirmed.

Insiders say this conversation has happened multiple times over the past 10 years and point out that this isn’t the first time the option of ceding time to affiliates has been discussed at the broadcaster. Instead, it’s only the most recent of the current explorations and it might not lead to any changes.

Additionally, sources say NBCU doesn’t view this as a cost-cutting measure that would lead to less programming, but could be designed to make best use of the broadcast brand and affiliate relationship over its options. streaming and cable.

It’s important to note that new speculation about a 10 p.m. time change, which comes just ahead of NBC’s launch of its fall lineup on Sept. 19, has no bearing on new shows and series airing. during this period, at least for now. The first NBC would consider implementing a change that would pass the 10 a.m. time to affiliates would be the fall of 2023. At that point, decisions would have to be made about what stays, what goes, what goes to a anterior niche or another. night, and what might be a better fit on NBCU’s Peacock streamer.

Right now, NBC has the new “Quantum Leap” reboot, new seasons of “New Amsterdam,” “Chicago PD,” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” all airing at 10 p.m.

There will also be no changes to the late night lineup, including “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” which will air at 11:35 p.m. and 12:35 p.m., respectively. However, NBC may consider changing the start times for these speakers if the 10 p.m. time is given to affiliates — perhaps a half hour or an hour earlier. (It’s also possible that NBC stations will choose to schedule an hour and a half of news, keeping those late-night chat shows in one place.)

“While NBC is the number one network, we are still looking for strategies to ensure our broadcast business remains as strong as possible,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement. Variety Friday. “As a business, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love across broadcast, cable and streaming.”

NBC declined to comment further.

NBC wouldn’t be the first broadcaster to leave the 10 p.m. time to local stations, something Fox and the CW network have done since their inception. Currently, NBC, ABC, and CBS are the only English-language broadcast networks that air shows at 10 p.m., usually drama.

Each of the broadcasters has seen a decline in prime-time ratings over the latest decision, as the cord-cutting continues and their parent companies — and their parent companies’ competitors — experiment with streaming options. streaming that lead to increased competition for eyeballs.

It’s also not the first time that NBC has considered shrinking its prime-time footprint. As early as 1981, NBC considered moving “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” to prime time and conducted a study on the possibility of doing such a thing. In the mid-2000s, the network also approached Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman to host an 8 p.m. talkback tape that would also cut the rest of prime time to two hours. The network finally did such a thing in 2009, when the unfortunate experience of airing “The Jay Leno Show” five days a week at 10 p.m. led to mass cancellations of primetime series as NBC adjusted its prime time schedule to reflect the loss of five hours on its lineup.

“The Jay Leno Show” quickly plummeted in ratings, and affiliates backed down, as it impacted the introduction of their late-night newscasts – forcing the network to restore scripted rates and the like at 10 p.m. (but that, in turn, led to the Great Talk Show Wars of 2010, when NBC decided to bring Leno back at 11:35 p.m. – leading to Conan O’Brien’s exit from the Peacock.) Other networks that have dropped primetime inventory over the years include The CW, when it dropped on Sundays (before reinstating later that night), while Fox returned the Sunday 10 p.m. time to affiliates, that this network briefly programmed in the early 1990s. (And if you go way back in the time machine, before 1971 and the passage of the primetime access rule, the networks were also programming the half -time of 7:30 p.m.)

The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news.

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