Tonight is the the night the gang from 30 Rock gets back together for a reunion special. And NBC is giving us a quick taste of what it's going to look like.
We've seen the pre-produced trailer, of course. But there's also going to be more socially distanced component, with the cast taking part the same way us peasants have been getting through work these past few months — with a group call on a computer.
The hour-long special airs tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be rebroadcast on USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC. It'll also be available on Peacock on Friday, July 17, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern.
And those rebroadcast options are important, because it looks like a number of NBC affiliates won't actually show the reunion special tonight. The reason? Because it's not just about 30 Rock. It's also about featuring content from throughout the NBCUniversal portfolio — including the new Peacock streaming service, which launched this week. That last part is the real sticking point, because anytime you're watching Peacock you're not watching your local NBC affiliate — and the ads it makes money from.
For its part, NBCUniversal was never particularly coy about what it was doing. Its press release from June 16 says that it's an Upfront event from the get-go and boasts of the larger reach of the greater NBCUniversal network.
"At NBCUniversal, we’re excited to produce an Upfront that reflects a new reality and celebrates our relationship with viewers and advertisers alike," Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising & Partnerships, NBCUniversal, said in the press release. "Historically, this event is about the future of programming; this year, it’s about the future of our industry—a future where we can meet audiences wherever they are, with the stories that move them. As the old saying goes ... when life hands you Lemon, have her host the Upfront!"
Vulture first reported that affiliate groups including Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar, Tegna, and Sinclair Broadcast Group — and those are large groups that cover about half the homes in the U.S. — won't be airing the reunion special/Upfront commercial.
Thus, no Liz Lemon for you, tonight. At least not live on your local NBC affiliate.
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