NBC is reportedly considering cutting back their prime-time hours due to the network’s declining popularity.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday that the network may stop programming the 10 to 11 p.m. time slots and give them to local TV stations instead
No future plans on the matter have been finalized with NBC’s affiliate board, meaning the 10 p.m. time slot may remain.
The change would likely occur in the fall of 2023, sources familiar told the outlet. The network’s late night programming, including “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” would likely move to an earlier time slot, from its current 11:30 p.m. slot to either 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. Cutting back programming will save NBC tens of millions of dollars in content costs, and satisfy affiliates who will earn more ad revenue by adding an extra hour of programming, the outlet reported.
“We are always looking at strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible. As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love across broadcast, cable and streaming,” an NBC spokeswoman said, according to the WSJ.
The network has already spent large sums in their sports broadcasting. It spends $350 million a year on the Big Ten college football and will spend $2 billion on airing Sunday Night Football in 2023, the outlet reported.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, will ultimately make the final decision on program cuts, the outlet reported. He has already cut 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. time slot from the network and given it back to affiliates.
The network has faced competition in audience viewership and advertising with streaming services in the past, leading NBC to be one of several major broadcast networks to witness a decline in viewership in recent years, the outlet reported.
Its parent company, Comcast Corp., has shifted its priority to its streaming service, Peacock, rather than its television networking, the outlet reported. This trend has spilled over to ABC and CBS’ parent companies, Walt Disney Co. and Paramount Global, respectively.
Some in NBC’s entertainment unit reportedly object to eliminating the network’s 10 p.m. programming, given that its sister companies, Universal Television and Peacock, could lose audience viewership and advertising revenue as a result, the outlet reported.