Well, we hope you enjoy a little drama with your slapstick. Per Vulture and Deadline, most of NBC’s independent affiliates are refusing to air the forthcoming remote 30 Rock reunion special, which is scheduled to air this Thursday night. According to reports, most of the stations owned by Nexstar, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tegna, Gray Television and other companies are pushing back against the event, which will be an hour-long, ad-free special meant to garner interest in the Peacock streaming service, which launches tomorrow.
Though a reunion of one of the network’s biggest comedy darlings would normally ring beneficial during a regularly functioning season of television, it comes at a time when the pressure to prove a new streaming platform’s vitality is especially high. Prioritizing a brand new platform that will likely siphon local viewers with its slate of football offerings and earlier showings of late night programming doesn’t do the smaller stations any favors. (And clearly, snatching away potential ad revenue during a pandemic is especially repellent for a business that is already losing money.) Also true: As HBO Max and Quibi’s disappointing launches have proven, selling a subscription service amid the apocalypse is tough business, so any and all last-ditch efforts are understandable. Taking up costly space in order to shill a product without offering something substantial in return is ill-advised, but we get the audacity.
As of now, neither NBC nor any of the affiliate companies have commented on the dissent, but we hope they take a lesson from the comedies they boast of regularly and find a way to solve this conflict in 30 minutes or less.