NBC Considers Milestone Move: Trimming Prime Time

Network might stop national programming at 10pm
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2022 7:21 AM CDT
NBC Might Cut an Hour Off Definition of 'Prime Time'
   (Getty/Rainer Puster)

From the earliest days of television, one thing has remained consistent—the definition of prime time as running from 8 to 11pm on the major networks. Now, however, at least one of those networks—NBC—is considering shortening that by one hour and ending at 10, reports the Wall Street Journal. The talks are in the preliminary stages, and the earliest such a change could happen is the fall of 2023, but the very possibility is another sign of the decline of broadcast TV in general, per the Journal.

If the move goes through, NBC would give the 10 to 11 hour back to local affiliates, and most would be happy to air local content or syndicated shows, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It's also possible that local affiliates would be allowed to air The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, which currently starts at 11:35, an hour earlier. At the moment, NBC mostly airs scripted dramas in the 10-11 hour, with current examples including the Quantum Leap reboot, New Amsterdam, Chicago P.D., and Law & Order: Organized Crime, per Variety. Such shows would likely run earlier in the night to replace less popular programs.

Variety notes that these kinds of discussions have surfaced regularly over the past decade, and it's possible nothing will come of it. All the stories note that newer networks such as Fox and the CW Network have mostly opted for two hours of prime-time programming instead of three since their inception. NBC is not commenting on the possibility, save for this statement: “We are always looking at strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible," says a spokesperson. "As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love across broadcast, cable, and streaming.” (More NBC stories.)

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