Viewers in many markets throughout the United States will not be able to turn to their local NBC station to watch Thursday night’s 30 Rock reunion, the first new episode of the show in over seven years. More than half of the country’s NBC affiliates won’t show the one-hour reunion special, including station groups Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar, Tegna, and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
According to a Vulture report, the objection of these affiliates is that the new special focuses too much on promoting Peacock, the streaming service NBC launched on Wednesday. The stations boycotting the special consider Peacock to be a competitor, and thus don’t want to provide what amounts to free ad time to it.
Featuring bits from original cast members Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer filmed remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, the 30 Rock special will also serve to promote NBC’s upcoming slate of programming. The special was produced by NBCUniversal’s marketing department. 30 Rock itself has a curious history with advertisers; as Variety reminds us, on numerous occasions, the show would feature product placement that often poked fun at sponsors or otherwise called attention to the paid nature of the content.
The special is still set to air in major markets such as New York City and Los Angeles where NBC owns its own stations, as well as other markets comprising of around 40% of the country. A rebroadcast on Friday will also see the special aired on the USA Network, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC–and yes, it will be available to stream on Peacock.
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