The hit shows Parks and Recreation and The Office have just had their lives on cable TV extended. Earlier today news broke that Viacom would be renewing its cable license for the shows with NBCUniversal, allowing both Parks and The Office to air on Viacom’s channels through 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Though the cost of renewing this cable license was not disclosed, an article from Deadline notes that the renewal of the license is a “testament to the enduring power of vintage content” in the era of streaming television. Parks and Recreation and The Office are notable keystone properties for networks, with The Office having been one of Netflix’s most watched shows. By securing exclusive rights to these series, networks and streaming platforms hope to pull in a wide audience who might otherwise not have an incentive to subscribe to a new streaming platform or tune in to a specific cable channel. A deal securing rights to a keystone series can be a huge expense for a platform, as we’ve seen with shows like Friends, which was sold to HBO Max for $425 million, and more recently South Park, which was sold to the same platform for $500 million.
As for The Office and Parks, the two shows from NBC will have a life in both streaming and broadcast. The Viacom-owned channel Comedy Central will maintain exclusive cable rights to both shows, with its rights to The Office running through 2021, and Parks through 2024. In spring of next year, NBCUniversal will be launching its own streaming platform Peacock, which will serve as the exclusive streaming home for The Office and Parks and Recreation. The report from Deadline notes that NBCUniversal paid nine-figure sums to have exclusive rights to both shows. Peacock will launch in April 2020, though a specific launch date has not been announced. Peacock may also be exploring options to include ads in its streaming service; no price point or subscription details have yet been announced.