NBCUniversal Introduces Peacock, Its New Streaming Service

LOS ANGELES — Who needs a “Plus” or a “Max” when you can use the plumage of a colorful bird? Such is the thinking at NBCUniversal, which announced on Tuesday that its new streaming service would be named Peacock.

“For us, it’s the perfect nod to the legacy without being too on the nose,” said Bonnie Hammer, chairwoman of the upcoming streaming service. “From my point of view, it screams that we are proud and we are bold.”


When Peacock makes its debut in April, it will join the growing list of new streaming services, including Apple TV Plus (Nov. 1), Disney Plus (Nov. 12) and HBO Max, which is also to start in April. These platforms will enter an increasingly competitive arena that already includes the established services Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

To compete, Peacock intends to have 15,000 hours of content from its vast library available on both its ad-supported and subscription-based services. Highlights will include complete seasons of “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Downton Abbey,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Frasier.” In June, NBCUniversal paid a reported $500 million to regain the rights to “The Office,” which will become available on Peacock at the start of 2020.

Competition for older network shows has become fierce in the streaming era. On Monday, Netflix won the rights to “Seinfeld,” beginning in 2021. In July, WarnerMedia secured the streaming rights to “Friends” for its service, HBO Max.

On the film side, movies from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation — including “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie,” “Do the Right Thing” and “E.T.” — will be featured. Pricing details for Peacock subscriptions have not been made public.

The company intends to use the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which will be broadcast on NBC and its affiliated networks, to publicize Peacock heavily. Soon after the closing ceremony, roughly a dozen new shows that incorporate elements of older properties will make their debuts on the platform.

There will be a reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” from Sam Esmail, the creator of “Mr. Robot,” and a new comedy series called “Rutherford Falls” from Mike Schur, the prolific producer behind “The Good Place,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” Ed Helms, an alumnus of “The Office,” will star. Reboots of “Saved by the Bell” and “Punky Brewster” are also in the works. A documentary series from Lorne Michaels called “Who Wrote That” will feature some of the most memorable moments from “Saturday Night Live” and discuss the writers responsible. All 44 seasons of “Saturday Night Live” will be available on Peacock, with Season 45 coming on once it completes its run on NBC.

“We are going to be very strategic in what we choose and develop based on the legacy of content we have,” said Ms. Hammer, who previously served as chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, where she oversaw NBC’s cable channels. “We will have the entire library of ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Rec.’ What better than a new show by the same creator that will run beside it.”

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