Reports suggest NBC to cut final hour of primetime programming to reduce costs

To hear President Joe Biden’s White House and its media allies talk, one would believe that the U.S. economy is doing just fine and everything is normal and people have nothing to worry about.

However, one of Biden’s top allies, NBC Universal, just exposed how wrong those assurances may be as executives are reportedly discussing cutting an hour of the broadcast network’s primetime offerings as a cost-cutting measure, Breitbart reported.

Such talk comes as both ad revenue and viewership totals plummet as more and more Americans shift away from broadcast networks and cable packages in favor of various streaming platforms and services in their own efforts to cut costs.

Cutting programming to save money, sources say

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that, according to anonymous network insiders, NBC executives were discussing plans to eliminate network programming for the 10 – 11 pm ET hour of primetime and to allow local affiliates to have control over what would air during that hour.

That move, intended to reduce costs for the network, would inevitably result in a restructuring of the remaining two hours of primetime as some programs would be rescheduled to earlier time slots while others moved to the Peacock streaming platforms and some might be canceled altogether, and could also lead to the network moving its late-night programming up to start earlier in the evening.

If approved, the plan likely wouldn’t go into effect until the Fall 2023 season begins, and the anonymous insiders touted two major benefits that could stem from the move — cost savings for NBC but increased ad revenue for the local affiliates that would now have an extra hour of programming to fill.

“We are always looking at strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible,” an NBC spokesperson told the Journal. “As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love across broadcast, cable and streaming.”

Less about cost-cutting, more about efficiency, say some sources

Variety reported that it had independently confirmed that the discussions at NBC about cutting an hour of primetime programming were indeed occurring, but disputed that cost-cutting was the major driving force behind it or that such discussions were anything new.

Instead, the outlet’s sources said these kinds of talks had been happening occasionally for the past decade and were more centered on how to most effectively utilize the broadcast network’s brand and relationships with local affiliates as well as its growing streaming platform.

“While NBC is the number one network, we are always looking at strategies to ensure that our broadcast business remains as strong as possible,” a spokesperson for the broadcast network told the outlet. “As a company, our advantage lies in our ability to provide audiences with the content they love across broadcast, cable, and streaming.”

No official plans yet

Of course, nothing has been made official yet, and both media outlets noted the possibility that no changes would be made at all with regard to the final hour of primetime programming.

Regardless, it has become increasingly apparent to the American people that, despite the reassurances of the Biden team and its allies, all is not well with the economy and cost-cutting adjustments may need to be made to deal with the reality of the current and future fiscal situation.

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