NBC’s streaming service Peacock is still on track to launch this July, with an initial rollout on Comcast beginning this month. However, as reported by Variety, the service will be launching without most of its planned original series, which have all been put on hold due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and pushed to 2021.
“The majority of our original productions have been paused,” said Matt Strauss, the chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. “This will materially limit our original slate at launch and through 2020.” He also indicated that a “significant amount” of those original productions would be moved to 2021.
Peacock will still launch with an impressive amount of library content. Popular series like Parks & Recreation, Two and a Half Men, and Law and Order: SVU will be available, as well as classic blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, Shrek, and E.T. However, subscribers will have to wait a while for The Office – the fan-favorite sitcom will remain exclusively on Netflix until the end of the year.
Strauss said they are still planning to have some quality original content debut on Peacock in 2020, including reboots of Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell and a film adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World. He also insists that NBC is optimistic about moving forward with Peacock’s release in the midst of the pandemic, and that they are “encouraged” by the increased demand for streaming content while everyone and their brother is stuck at home.
Peacock was already facing the challenge of entering a crowded marketplace featuring behemoth competitors like Netflix and Disney+. The lack of any meaningful original content at launch will make things even more difficult for the streaming service. Last week’s underwhelming launch of Quibi, the mobile streaming service with nothing but exclusive original content, suggests a challenging road ahead for Peacock.
Beginning April 15, Comcast subscribers with Xfinity X1 and Flex will have access to a preview of the ad-supported tier of Peacock Premium. By the end of the month, Peacock will be available to all Comcast subscribers, ahead of the national rollout planned for July 15th.