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NBC and HBO have answers to Netflix’s “Seinfeld” acquisition

the office nbc michael scott
NBCUniversal sees your Jerry Seinfeld and raises you a Michael Scott.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

*NBC has entered the chat.*

The Great Streaming Wars of 2020 officially have another combatant as NBCUniversal announced the details of its upcoming streaming service today. It’s called “Peacock“—a nod to the NBC network’s famously colorful logo.

Peacock will launch in April 2020 and include over 15,000 hours of content, comprised of a wide range of classic sitcoms, reboots of classic sitcoms, new original shows, and a library of films from Universal Pictures. Headlining the slate will be beloved comedies The Office (US version) and Parks and Recreation, as well as reboots of Battlestar GalacticaSaved by the Bell, and Punky Brewster.

All in all, it’s an impressive initial haul for the legacy American media brand, which is looking to compete with Netflix, Disney, Apple, and WarnerMedia in the fight for streaming supremacy. NBC hasn’t announced pricing, but we know Peacock will have both ad-supported and subscription options.

One thing Peacock won’t have: Seinfeld, which aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998 (but was produced by Sony Pictures Television). Netflix announced on Monday that it bought the streaming rights to the sitcom for a reported $500 million. Netflix is hoping Seinfeld will help make up for the loss of Friends, which will soon stream exclusively on WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.

The big Peacock reveal came just hours after WarnerMedia announced that it also acquired all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory to stream on HBO Max next year.

Confused? Here’s which service will have what sitcom:

  • Netflix: Seinfeld
  • HBO Max: Friends, The Big Bang Theory
  • Peacock: The Office, Parks and Recreation, Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Will & Grace, and more

The Office, Friends, and Parks and Recreation were the three most-watched shows on Netflix last year. Starting in 2020, Netflix will no longer have any of those shows. As its new streaming competitors slowly siphon off titles in its library, Netflix will have no choice but to continue investing heavily in original content.

Peacock’s original series will include Dr. Death, a drama starring Alec Baldwin based on the true-crime podcast of the same name, and Brave New World, an adaptation of the Aldous Huxley novel. On the original comedy front, Peacock will stream Rutherford Falls, co-created by The Office veterans Michael Shur and Ed Helms, and Straight Talk, from Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith.

That all sounds intriguing, but it’s obvious that NBCUniversal’s primary strategy is to capitalize on nostalgia. Even down to its name, Peacock seems committed to bringing back the viewers who grew up with NBC shows in the 80s and 90s. “All of our choices, especially in the beginning, we are doing them strategically so they connect back to our legacy,” NBCU head of digital Bonnie Hammer told Deadline.

It hasn’t forgotten about the younger generation, either—Peacock will have an extensive catalog of reality TV shows like Top Chef and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and streaming staple The Office is still incredibly popular with young people. But just to be safe, NBC is plotting a reboot of that show, too.

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