March 25, 2023

NBC is considering handing over its 10pm prime time slot to local TV stations in a bid to cut costs as the network continues to prioritize its streaming service.

The switch could take place in 2023, according to Variety, and would mark an end to a timeslot in which iconic shows, including ER and Miami Vice, have played and favorites such as Law & Order and Dateline are still shown.

Handing over 10 p.m. to local stations has been mooted before, but NBC seems to be taking the proposal more seriously as it pumps money into its streaming service Peacock.

The company has yet to make a decision and hasn’t even discussed it with its affiliate board, which represents NBC’s affiliated television stations in the US.

The slot is currently occupied by scripted dramas such as New Amsterdam, Chicago PD, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and the new Quantum Leap reboot.

NBC is discussing abolishing the 11pm-11pm timeslot and returning it to local television affiliates, though it currently airs shows like Law and Order

ER also once occupied the slot from 1994, giving the world its first real look at Hollywood star George Clooney

Miami Vice, starring Don Johnson (left) and Philip Michael Thomas (right) occupying NBC’s 10 p.m. slot between 1984 and 1990

Dateline, whose host Keith Morrison is pictured, will remain in the coveted spot at 10pm – but that could change soon

There are currently no reports of those shows being canceled and they could be moved to earlier in the evening to free up the primetime spot, or on Peacock.

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The decision is reportedly designed to cut costs, as scrapping the slot could free up tens of millions of dollars for NBC in content costs, which continue to rise.

The move could also affect NBC’s famous talk shows, such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon’s show can be moved from 11:30 p.m. to an earlier time, such as 11 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. to compete with rivals such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.

A spokesperson for the network said: ‘We are always looking for strategies to ensure that our broadcasting business remains as strong as possible. As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love through broadcast, cable and streaming.”

Mark Lazarus, president of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, would lead the discussions that could lead to the transfer of the slot by 2023

Jimmy Fallon’s show can be moved from 11:30pm to an earlier time such as 11pm or 10:30pm to compete with rivals such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert

The shift has also been felt internally as NBC bolsters its streaming service Peacock as streaming continues to attract large audiences

While networks like NBC, ABC and CBS have traditionally devoted 3 hours a night to their own programming, network television’s popularity has declined in recent years, forcing executives to adapt.

Mark Lazarus, president of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, would lead discussions around the time slots.

Lazarus also recently reduced the hours of NBC late-night programming, abolishing the 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. timeslot and returning that time to affiliates.

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Networks once got much of their ad revenue from primetime segments, but advertisers have flocked to streaming sites like Hulu and HBO Max.

The shift is also felt internally, as NBC bolsters its streaming service Peacock and ABC and CBS have Disney+ and Paramount+ respectively.

Much of the competition first came from cable, but the networks now face seemingly insurmountable opposition from streaming services that continue to attract audiences.

Local stations have occupied the time slots that the networks don’t fill with their own programs, news segments and talk shows. These stations would likely welcome the extra airtime, as it translates into ad revenue.