The video streaming service boom continues. In addition to the launches of both Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus in 2019, 2020 will see TimeWarner going live with HBO Max. Now NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast, has announced details of its upcoming streaming service, which will be called Peacock.
So what will Peacock bring to the table, and will it be able to stand out from the already crowded list of premium video streaming services? Here’s everything we know so far about Peacock.
What is Peacock?
As we mentioned, Peacock is the upcoming premium video streaming service that will be run by NBCUniversal. The Comcast-owned media company announced plans to launch a streaming service a number of months ago. It will be the home for classic and recent shows from NBCUniversal’s various broadcast and cable networks, along with films from Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animation, and Focus Features. In addition, Peacock will launch a number of exclusive new TV shows and movies for the service, which will include reboots of a number of well-known properties.
Peacock will be led by Matt Strauss, who previously was the head of Comcast’s Xfinity cable products.
Why did NBCUniversal call their streaming service Peacock?
Using the name Peacock as the label for the NBCUniversal streaming service is a nod to the early days of television. As the 1960s began, most TV shows were still broadcast in black and white. However, the NBC TV network was, at the time, owned by the electronics product maker RCA, and it wanted consumers to purchase its new color televisions. To encourage this, Forward.com reports that RCA commissioned a new NBC logo that would play in front of its shows, showing a stylized peacock that showed off all of the primary and secondary colors in its “feathers”.
The logo for the new Peacock streaming service still has the same colors featured in the old NBC logo as dots on the right side.
Availability and launch date
Peacock will launch first for Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers April 15. The rest of the US will get access to the service starting August 15.
Platforms and devices
So far, NBCUniversal has only stated that Peacock will be available on non-specific “popular web, mobile, and connected-TV devices.” We will update this post when more information is revealed.
There will be two tiers of Peacock subscriptions. One, Peacock Free, will be completely free to access, with ads. The other, Peacock Premium, will have more content but will have a price tag for most customers.
Peacock Free – The free, ad-supported versions of the service will give subscribers over 7,500 hours of programming. Current freshmen shows will have their new episodes available to watch the next day after they are broadcast on Peacock. This tier will also have complete classic TV series to watch, along with a selection of popular movies The tier will include curated daily news and sports programming including the Olympics, and some Spanish-language content. The free tier will give subscribers a few episodes of Peacock original shows to watch.
Peacock Premium – This tier will have over 15,000 hours of content for subscribers, over double the content compared to Peacock Free. Subscribers will get access to all Peacock exclusive shows, along with more sports coverage and next-day access to current seasons of returning broadcast series. Fans of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Myers, can watch new episodes of those shows via Peacock at 8 pm ET and 9 pm ET, respectively. That’s a few hours before those episodes debut on NBC.
Peacock Premium will normally cost $4.99 a month, with ads. However, if you are a Comcast and Cox cable subscriber, you get the ad-supported Peacock Premium for free. If they want to get rid of the ads, those users can spend $5 a month. Everyone else can get the ad-free version of Peacock Premium for $9.99.
What classic TV shows will be on the service?
NBCUniversal claims that when Peacock launches in April 2020, it will be the home for over 15,000 hours of streaming video content. In terms of TV shows, it will be the new exclusive streaming home for the US version of The Office. Currently, all nine seasons of the workplace sitcom are available on Netflix, where it has become the most popular TV series on any streaming service, according to NBCUniversal. However, The Office won’t make its move to Peacock until January 2021.
The new service will also be the home for another highly popular classic workplace sitcom, Parks and Recreation. It’s currently available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, but all of its episodes will move exclusively to Peacock, starting in October 2020.
Other classic and more recent TV shows that will be streamed on the service will include:
- 30 Rock
- Bates Motel
- Battlestar Galactica
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago P.D.
- Chicago Med
- Chrisley Knows Best
- Covert Affairs
- Downton Abbey
- Everyone Loves Raymond
- Friday Night Lights
- The George Lopex Show
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians
- King Of Queens
- Law and Order
- Law and Order: SVU
- Law and Order: Criminal Intent
- Married…With Children
- Royal Pains
- Saturday Night Live
- The Real Housewives franchise
- Top Chef
- Two and a Half Men
- Will & Grace
What movies will be shown on Peacock?
The service will also be the streaming home to a ton of classic and recent feature films from Universal Pictures and Focus Features. They will include movies in the highly popular Bourne, Fast and Furious and Despicable Me franchises. Other movies that will be shown on the service will include:
- American Pie
- Knocked Up
- Meet the Parents
- Meet the Fockers
- A Beautiful Mind
- Back to the Future
- Brokeback Mountain
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Do the Right Thing
- Erin Brockovich
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
- Field of Dreams
- Mamma Mia!
- The Breakfast Club
In addition, Peacock will be the streaming home to over 3,000 hours of content from NBCUniversal’s Spanish language cable TV network, Telemundo, including shows like 100 Dias Para Volver, Betty in NY, El Barón and Preso No. 1.
What exclusive TV shows and movies will be streamed on Peacock?
NBCUniversal has announced plans for quite a few original TV shows that will make their debuts exclusively for Peacock. They include reboots of at least three classic TV shows:
- Battlestar Galactica – This would the second reboot for the 1978 space-based sci-fi TV show. Sam Esmail, who created the acclaimed TV series Mr. Robot, will be in charge of this new series.
- Saved By The Bell – The teen comedy series will get a sequel-style reboot, and will feature original cast members Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez.
- Punky Brewster – Here’s another sequel-style reboot, this one featuring Soleil Moon Frye reprising her role as a grown-up version of her orphan kid character from the original sitcom.
In addition, A.P. Bio, which ran for two seasons on NBC, will return for a third season exclusively on Peacock. Also, yet another (currently unnamed) spin-off of the Real Housewives reality show franchise will be streamed as an exclusive original for the service. Finally, Psych: The Movie 2, a second TV movie based on the classic comedy-mystery series, will be shown exclusively on the service.
Peacock will also be the home for a number of original TV shows as well:
- Dr. Death – A drama based on the popular true-crime podcast. It will star Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin, and Christian Slater.
- Brave New World – A series based on the classic sci-fi novel from Aldous Huxley, and starring Alden Ehrenreich and Demi Moore.
- One of Us is Lying – A series based on the best-selling young-adult mystery novel.
- Angelyne – A limited series starring Emmy Rossum based on the true story of the woman featured on a long-standing billboard in Hollywood.
- Rutherford Falls – A comedy co-created by The Good Place creator Mike Schuur.
- Straight Talk – A comedy co-created by Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith.
- Armas de Mujer – A new Spanish-language dramedy series from the makers of La Reina del Sur.
- Who Wrote That – A docuseries centering on the cast and crew of the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live.
- Girls5Eva – Produced by Tina Fey, this comedy is about a fictional 90s girl group that reunites for one more chance at glory.
In addition, Peacock will also be the home for two upcoming untitled talk shows. One will be run by The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon, while the other will be a weekly talk show hosted by Amber Ruffin, a writer and performer for Late Night with Seth Myers.
Finally, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation will both develop original films and series that will be streamed exclusively via Peacock.
What sports and news content will be available?
NBC is the home of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. When Peacock launches nationwide in July 2020 it will be prepared to give Olympic fans a ton of content:
- Live coverage of both the Opening and Closing ceremonies from Tokyo before they are shown on NBC
- Three exclusive shows: Tokyo Live, with live coverage of a major Olympic event; Tokyo Daily Digest, with mid-day highlights, and Tokyo Tonight, which will complement NBC’s nightly shows.
- The Tokyo Paralympics will also be shown on Peacock with over 1,000 of content
Soccer fans can also look forward to watching over 2,000 hours of Premier League games, including many games that are not shown on regular TV.
Could The Office get a reboot via Peacock?
The service will get the right to stream the back catalog of episodes from the US version of The Office in January 2021. However, the continued popularity of the show has caused many to speculate that Peacock could also be the home to a full-fledged reboot of the series with all-new episodes. In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Bonnie Hammer, the Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises for NBCUniversal, stated, “It is my hope and goal that we do an Office reboot”, and added, “It is my hope that we can figure what that great reboot would be. We are having conversations.”
If an Office reboot does debut on Peacock, it likely won’t involve its original star Steve Carell, who has stated on a number of occasions that he is not interested in revisiting his character of Dunder-Mifflin manager Michael Scott. Carell will next be seen in the first season of The Morning Show, one of the debut TV series on the upcoming Apple TV Plus streaming service that starts on November 1. After that, he’s set to star in yet another workplace comedy series, Space Force, which is scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2019.
Will Peacock be successful?
There’s no doubt that NBCUniversal has a lot of popular library content that it can use to fill out Peacock in the short term, and its plans for original content sound pretty nice on the surface, especially the new version of Battlestar Galactica. Having The Office as a streaming exclusive in January 2021 is also a feather in its cap. However, the simple fact is that there will be a ton of already established streaming services up and running by the time Peacock officially gets underway on April 2020, and it remains to be seen if consumers will have the money to pay for all of them, or if a few will have to go by the wayside. If that happens, Peacock could be one of those casualties.
Having said that, if NBCUniversal can indeed reboot The Office with a lot of its original cast and crew as an exclusive for Peacock, it could generate enough subscriptions for the service to keep the lights on.
Will you be signing up for Peacock when it launches in 2020, or will you wait until The Office debuts in 2021?