NBC is considering giving its 10 p.m. prime time slot to local TV stations to cut costs as the network continues to favor the streaming service.
According to Variety , the move could take place in 2023 and end a time slot that has hosted iconic shows including ER and Miami Vice and still features favorites including Law & Order ” and “Date”.
Handing over 10pm to local radio stations has been discussed before, but NBC appears to be taking the offer more seriously as it pumps money into its Peacock streaming service.
The company has not yet made a decision or even discussed the matter with its affiliate council, which represents NBC’s U.S. affiliates.
Slot is currently busy with scripted dramas such as New Amsterdam, Chicago PD, Law & Order: Organized Crime and the new Quantum Leap reboot.
NBC is discussing cutting the 10-11pm time slot and returning it to local TV affiliates, even though it currently airs shows like Law & Order
Ambulance also once occupied the slot starting in 1994 and gave the world its first real look at Hollywood star George Clooney
Miami Vice, with Don Johnson (L) and Philip Michael Thomas (R), occupied NBC’s 10:00 PM slot from 1984 to 1990.
Dateline, whose host Keith Morrison is pictured, continues to sit in the coveted 10pm slot, but that could soon change
There are currently no reports of cancellations for these shows, and they may be moved to an earlier evening to free up prime-time slots, or to accommodate Peacock.
The decision is reportedly a cost-cutting effort, as ending the slot could free NBC of tens of millions of dollars in content costs, which continue to rise.
The move could also have ramifications for popular NBC talk shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon’s show could be moved from 11:30pm to an earlier time slot, such as 11am or 10:30pm, to compete with rivals like Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.
A spokesperson for the network said: “We are always looking for strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible. As a company, our strength lies in our ability to provide viewers with the content they love across broadcast, cable and streaming.”
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, is said to be in discussions that could lead to the transfer slot by 2023
Jimmy Fallon’s show could be moved from 11:30pm to an earlier time slot, such as 11am or 10:30pm, to compete with rivals such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert
The shift has also been felt domestically as NBC ramps up its Peacock streaming service as the broadcast continues to attract large audiences
While networks like NBC, ABC and CBS have historically dedicated 3 a.m. slots to their own programming, the popularity of network television has declined in recent years, forcing executives to adapt.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, is said to be in discussions around the time slots.
Lazarus also recently cut NBC’s late-night programming hours, cutting the slot from 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and returning that slot to affiliates.
Networks once made most of their ad revenue from prime-time segments, but advertisers are flocking to streaming sites like Hulu and HBO Max.
The shift has also been felt domestically, as NBC ramps up its Peacock streaming service, while ABC and CBS have Disney+ and Paramount+, respectively.
Much of the competition initially came from cable TV, but now the networks face seemingly insurmountable resistance from streaming services, which continue to capture audiences.
Local stations have taken over time slots that the networks do not fill with their programming, news segments and talk shows. These stations would likely welcome the extra airtime as it means advertising revenue.