NBC’s longest-running entertainment program moves to streaming after 57 years.
In a stunning move, NBC announced Wednesday long-running soap Days Of Our Lives would now air exclusively on its Peacock streaming service, effective September 12. The show currently airs on both.
The shift means NBC becomes the first broadcast network to exit the daytime susder business; the network was the first to eliminate Saturday morning cartoons from its lineup, doing so in 1992. On September 12, the time period now held by Days in most markets is being replaced by NBC News Daily, an hour-long midday newscast anchored by Kate Snow, Aaron Gilchrist, Vicky Nguyen and Morgan Radford – all four regularly appear on NBC News’ streaming service NBC News Now. Already, there are noon newscasts on Nexstar independent WGN-TV and Fox’s WFLD-TV.
The news was first reported by Vulture.
In Chicago, Days aired at noon through much of its run at WMAQ-TV. The show premiered on November 8, 1965 and is set in the fictional Illinois town of Salem. Days is produced by Sony Pictures Television and is not owned by NBC, but the lack of vertical integration didn’t play any role in moving exclusively to Peacock as NBC recently renewed the show until 2023.
“This programming shift benefits both Peacock and NBC and is reflective of our broader strategy to utilize our portfolio to maximize reach and strengthen engagement with viewers,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “With a large percentage of the ‘Days of Our Lives’ audience already watching digitally, this move enables us to build the show’s loyal fanbase on streaming while simultaneously bolstering the network daytime offering with an urgent, live programming opportunity for partners and consumers.”
Days will not be on the free Peacock tier, meaning if you are a fan of the show, you will have to subscribe to the $4.99 tier with ads or the $9.99 premium tier. Days is joining spinoff Beyond Salem on Peacock, which premiered on the streaming service last year.
The decision to move Days comes as there is a tremendous shift underway in viewing habits – more and more people are streaming programs as opposed to watching them on live, linear TV. Earlier this year, longtime ABC stalwart Dancing With The Stars moved to Disney Plus, where it premieres September 19. Also notable is another case of an entertainment program shifting to streaming and being replaced with a less expensive news program. News programming tends to bring in more advertising revenue than scripted or reality programming – especially the political kind with mid-term elections coming up.
The move leaves the soap genre on networks’ schedules now reduced to three: CBS’ The Young And The Restless and The Bold And The Beautiful; and ABC’s General Hospital as daytime ratings overall declined for the last two decades, resulting in several soap cancellations. In 2009, CBS canceled Guiding Light after a 72-year run on TV and radio and dropped As The World Turns a year later after a 54-year run. In 2011, ABC canceled All My Children and One Life To Live in an unpopular move. In Chicago, both shows dominated their time periods over WLS-TV.
In 1982, thirteen soaps dotted networks’ daytime schedules with NBC’s lineup consisting of Texas, The Doctors, Search For Tomorrow (a CBS castoff), Days, and Another World. Both Texas and Doctors were canceled later that year; Search For Tomorrow ended in 1986; and Another World left the airwaves in 1999. Other soaps coming and going on NBC’s lineup over the years included Santa Barbara, Generations, Passions, and Sunset Beach.
Days avoided getting axed by TV’s version of the Grim Reaper for the last two decades. Former NBC president Jeff Zucker didn’t have faith in the show, predicting Days wouldn’t last past 2009. Affiliates however, were supportive though KSL-TV in Salt Lake City shifted the serial to the unusual time slot of 1:15 a.m. in 2013 due to low ratings. So far this current season, Days is drawing 1.8 million viewers but by comparison, reruns of the syndicated Judge Judy is averaging 10 million. Also not helping is soaps are skewing older, as the storytelling method used in these shows – serialization – can now be found in any drama.
The daytime lineup for the NBC-owned stations will look markedly different this fall than in years past, with the departure of Ellen and now Days. This fall, WMAQ and a few other NBC O&Os add Dateline reruns to their daytime lineup, though time slots have yet to be announced. In Los Angeles, KNBC is launching another hour of news at 3 p.m., testing the theory of how much is too much when it comes to adding more news.
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