New Episodes of ‘The Tonight Show’ and ‘Late Night’ Will Be Available Early on Peacock

     January 16, 2020

In a potentially paradigm-shifting move, NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service Peacock will make new episodes of late night television available to view hours before they air. It was announced today that new episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will stream at 8pm ET, three and a half hours before its broadcast, while Late Night with Seth Meyers will begin streaming at 9pm ET.

Both shows are taped before a live studio audience earlier in the day, so this certainly puts the pressure on the post-production team to get the episodes ready ASAP. This is the first time ever that late night shows will be made available in advance of their broadcast airing, and could pave the way forward for late night TV to enter the streaming space.

For years shows like Late Night and The Late Late Show with James Corden have mostly maintained their relevance through YouTube. Clips from the shows are posted on YouTube and rack up hundreds of thousands of views, increasing the footprint of late night TV beyond traditional ratings. With this move, however, Peacock turns late night television into primetime material, as subscribers will be able to stream the latest episode of Seth Meyers before an early bedtime.

Late Night in particular has been making content available earlier as of late, dropping the latest installment of “A Closer Look” in the evening before the full episode airs in the show’s regular 12:37pm ET timeslot. But I’ll be interested to see if this streaming availability increases the footprint of Late Night and The Tonight Show further, and if other networks follow suit.

For now, godspeed to the production teams of both shows.