NBC jumps into the streaming game with Peacock, a new service due in 2020

Sep 17, 2019
  • Launching in April 2020 with over 15,000 hours of content
  • Pricing is unknown, but will be both “advertising and subscription supported”
  • Launching with a mix of original and classic shows and movies
  • Will include The Office, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock

NBCUniversal announced key details on its new streaming service this morning, including a launch date, programming lineup and an instantly ridiculed name.

Here’s everything we learned today about the latest streaming service to enter the fray.

NBC’s new streaming service will be called “Peacock”

That’s right, the new NBC streaming service will be called “Peacock,” a reference to the network’s multicolored logo. It’s outside the box, sure, but frankly, we’re just relieved there’s no plus sign.

“The name Peacock pays homage to the quality content that audiences have come to expect from NBCUniversal – whether it’s culture-defining dramas from innovative creators like Sam Esmail, laugh-out-loud comedies from legends like Lorne Michaels and Mike Schur, blockbusters from Universal Pictures, or buzzy unscripted programming from the people who do it best at Bravo and E!,” said Bonnie Hammer, Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises.

“Peacock will be the go-to place for both the timely and timeless – from can’t-miss Olympic moments and the 2020 election, to classic fan favorites like The Office.”

Pricing is TBD, but there could be a free option

NBC didn’t reveal anything new about Peacock’s price today. “As previously announced, Peacock will be both advertising and subscription supported,” it said in the press release.
“Details on pricing and distribution will be announced closer to launch.”

If that sounds vague, it’s because it is. For (slightly) more clarification, here’s an exchange between The Hollywood Reporter and Hammer, from earlier today:

Hollywood Reporter: What’s the pricing strategy? It’s free to Comcast subscribers, with one price point for ad-free and another for non-Comcast subscribers. Is that still the case?

Hammer: There will be conversations about pricing down the road. But the strategy is still the same.”

It sounds like Peacock will be free for Comcast customers, possibly free for an ad-supported version and will have separate prices for non-Comcast subscribers and ad-free versions. It’s anything but simple, but we’ll hopefully have more details soon.

Live TV will be a part of the game plan

NBC made a point in its press release to say that Peacock will launch with plenty of time to “take center stage at the end of July during the 2020 Summer Olympics.” This is big news, as it would be one of the only streaming services to experiment with live TV. (Prime Video also airs some NFL games.) It seems clear that NBC is timing Peacock’s launch to make room for the Olympics, as the summer event would be a major draw for the new NBC streaming service.

It will feature a slate of original content

Like Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max, Peacock will try to make a splash with its own original content. It announced a number of new shows, including Dr. Death, based on the popular true-crime podcast starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, an adaptation of Brave New World starring Alden Ehrenreich and One of Us Is Lying, based on the best-selling young adult mystery novel.

Expect plenty of reboots, too. We’ll get a new Battlestar Galactica from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, plus two ‘80s classics, Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell, which will return two original Baysiders, Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez.

There will be a number of unscripted shows on Peacock, too. Lorne Michaels will produce a documentary series on Saturday Night Live called Who Wrote That, and Jimmy Fallon will create an “original talk show series.” (How this differs from The Tonight Show remains to be seen.) We’ll also get a late-night show from comedian Amber Ruffin and a spinoff of Bravo’s Real Housewives series.

NBC didn’t say whether these will all be available when the service launches in April, but it’s a safe bet that many of them will make up the “15,000 hours of content” it’s promising at launch.

Plus plenty of shows you already know

While NBC is touting its slate of original shows and movies, it’s the ones you already know that will get people using Peacock. It’s an impressive list, full of heavy-hitters that have to be making NBC’s competitors sweat. (According to a Wall Street Journal analysis earlier this year, The Office was Netflix’s most-streamed show by a mile, with Parks and Recreation not far behind.)

That said, not all of them will be available at launch. The Office and Parks and Recreation, for example, will both roll out over the first year. Here are all the shows we know will be on the new NBC streaming service at some point:

  • 30 Rock
  • Bates Motel
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Cheers
  • Chrisley Knows Best
  • Covert Affairs
  • Downton Abbey
  • Everyone Loves Raymond
  • Frasier
  • Friday Night Lights
  • House
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians
  • King Of Queens
  • Married…With Children
  • Monk
  • The Office
  • Parenthood
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Psych
  • The Real Housewives
  • Royal Pains
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Superstore
  • Top Chef
  • Will & Grace

In addition to NBC classics like The Office and Parks and Recreation, Peacock will also feature popular shows from Bravo and PBS. This marks the first time that Saturday Night Live’s entire back catalogue will be available on a streaming service.

You might notice that a number of these shows, like 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, Cheers and Frasier, are already available on other streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu. In May, NBCUniversal agreed to renew a deal with Disney that put these popular shows on Hulu through 2024 as part of its deal to give control of the service to Disney.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC can take most of those shows off Hulu in 2022, but for now, they’ll be on both services. Most of Netflix’s deals for NBC shows, on the other hand, expire in 2020 and 2021.

Peacock will feature original and licensed films, too

NBC will leverage its ownership of Universal Pictures to produce original films for Peacock. While it has a robust original TV lineup in place, it hasn’t announced any specific movies yet, simply teasing “prominent talent and filmmakers” and original animated content from DreamWorks Animation.

While we don’t know much about its original movies, Peacock will launch with plenty of films we already know and love. Here’s everything it announced so far:

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • American Pie
  • Back to the Future
  • Bourne franchise
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Bridesmaids
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Casino
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Despicable Me franchise
  • Do the Right Thing
  • E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Fast & Furious franchise
  • Field of Dreams
  • Jaws
  • Knocked Up
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Meet the Fockers
  • Meet the Parents
  • Shrek

Many of these are currently only available on premium movie networks like Cinemax and Starz, while others, like Bridesmaids, Field of Dreams and Knocked Up aren’t currently on any streaming services.

Over 3,000 hours of Spanish language content

Peacock looks to become the leading streaming service for Spanish-language content, promising more than 3,000 hours of content from Telemundo, the American Spanish-language TV network. Expect a mix of original content and shows like 100 Días Para Volver, Betty in NY, El Barón and Preso No. 1. that originally aired on Telemundo.

The bottom line

Peacock, while admittedly a pretty silly name, looks like it will stand out from other streaming newcomers like Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max right from the jump.

It already has some of the most beloved shows of the binge era in its library, including the ultimate trump card that is The Office. What’s more, it looks like the new NBC streaming service could be the first major player to have an entirely ad-supported option, i.e. free.

We’ll continue to update you as we learn more about Peacock and other streaming services launching this year and on the horizon. For the latest news, keep an eye on our Resource Center and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.