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Peacock: NBCUniversal streaming service to launch in 2020 with Battlestar series

Staff Writer

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NBCUniversal has finally announced its plans for its new subscription streaming service, including its name and slate of original content.

Called Peacock, the SVOD platform will launch in 2020, with 15,000+ hours of content, both films and TV old and new. We have known for some time that NBC had plans for its own over-the-top service to rival Netflix, joining a new wave of VOD services that includes Disney+, Apple TV+ and Warner’s HBO Max. We have also known for some time that NBCUniversal will be reclaiming the US remake of The Office for its own platform when its current deal with Netflix expires in 2021.

Now, we know what else will be on the service, including that other NBC hit Parks and Recreation.

The line-up of new original dramas will be led by a new Battlestar Galactica series, from Mr. Robot and Homecoming EP Sam Esmail.

Esmail has confirmed that it will not be a remake or reboot of Ron D. Moore’s own version of the franchise, and will instead “explore a new story within the mythology while staying true to the spirit of Battlestar”.

Other dramas include Dr. Death, based on the true-crime podcast starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, Brave New World, based on the dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley and starring Alden Ehrenreich and Demi Moore, Angelyne, a limited series from Emmy Rossum, and One of Us Is Lying, based on the New York Times best-selling young adult mystery-thriller.

The platform’s new original comedies will include Rutherford Falls, co-created by Mike Schur, Ed Helms, and Sierra Teller Ornelas, and starring Ed Helms, Straight Talk, from Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith, a reboot of Saved By the Bell from Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock), featuring original cast members Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, and a revival of Punky Brewster, starring Soleil Moon Frye as a grown-up version of her former character, plus an all-new season of A.P.Bio, starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt. and the second movie spinoff from the long-running series Psych.

A “broad array” of unscripted programming will include a new Saturday Night Live docuseries, Who Wrote That, from creator Lorne Michaels, exploring the famous personalities in front of and behind the camera, plus an original talk show series from Jimmy Fallon.

Other older NBC titles will include 30 Rock, Bates Motel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Frasier, House, Friday Night Lights, Monk, Top Chef, Saturday Night Live and Will & Grace.

On top of that, Universal Pictures is developing original films and animated series to debut on Peacock with prominent talent and filmmakers, while existing films from Universal, Focus Features Illumination and DreamWorks Animation will include American Pie, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, Casino, Brokeback Mountain, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Shrek, The Breakfast Club and Mamma Mia!.

Peacock will rollout in April 2020, with details of pricing and devices not yet confirmed. The main question, though, will be whether it will be available in the UK as well as in the USA. With the official site currently saying “This service is unavailable in your region”, though, the odds are low. Indeed, with Sky and NBC both owned by Comcast, it’s more likely that Sky will be the UK home of any new Peacock originals; Sky recently announced it would be bringing Saturday Night Live exclusively to UK TV screens in its own new channel, Sky Comedy, which launches next February.

Similarly, HBO Max is not expected to launch in the UK in the very near future, with Sky and HBO having a close relationship, including a $250 million co-production deal inked between Sky Studios and the cable giant in 2017.

While NBC’s Peacock joins a growing number of US media players readying to take on Netflix, and the streaming disruptor sees a growing number of classic TV shows being pulled out of reach by the industry’s pushback, it currently appears that US audiences will have their feathers ruffled more than viewers in the UK

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