Several NBCUniversal-owned networks are rejecting the order to air the 30 Rock reunion special, Vulture has reported. The NBC affiliates believe the special is a ploy to market NBC’s upcoming streaming service Peacock instead of seeming like they are not supporting their subsequent networks.
The 30 Rock reunion was announced last month. The purpose of the one-time reunion special was two-fold: first, the special would act as NBC’s annual Upfront special. That is, the reunion would showcase and promote several of NBC’s upcoming shows and their stars for this fall 2020 television season. The second purpose, as outlined above, was to advertise the new streaming service. The special was set to air on all NBCUniversal owned networks on Thursday, July 16th – the day before Peacock launches.
The NBC-owned networks confirmed to partake in the boycott are Sinclair Broadcast Group, Hearst, Nexstar, Tenga, and Gray Television. The move to not air the special is a result of anxiety from traditional TV networks in regards to how streaming services will take away their audience. The decision to not are of the 30 Rock special is not entirely surprising. Linear TV networks make changes to corporate-set schedules frequently. As an example, a singular network may decide to not air a specific news story or program if it is deemed too controversial for a specific area. However, the rest of the corporation’s networks may let the show air in the rest of the country.
What makes this boycott unprecedented is that the 30 Rock reunion is a major, prime-time, all-new production from NBC itself, as opposed to one news story or syndicated program. Despite this, there are plenty of NBC networks that will still air the special. NBC will even upload the special to its official website the day after its premiere. The significant number of networks participating in the boycott speaks to a growing schism between faltering linear TV and the booming streaming services.
The 30 Rock reunion special airs the Thursday following publication, and Peacock launches the day after, July 17th. The promo for the reunion is available to watch on the show’s official YouTube channel. 30 Rock (including this special) will become one of several NBC shows streaming exclusively on the service.