A special reunion episode of NBC sitcom “30 Rock” is scheduled to air tonight, but many NBC affiliates across the country — including WXII-TV in the Piedmont Triad — won’t show it.
“Instead, we are airing a two- part, hourlong Project Community Special hosted by Wanda Starke,” said Michelle Butt, the president and general manager of WXII. “It revisits the history of slavery in N.C. as well as celebrates African American culture in our community.”
The program includes work that has previously aired but has been updated, Butt said.
Various television station groups throughout the U.S. are preempting the “30 Rock” special, according to published reports from Vulture and Entertainment Weekly. They listed Hearst, the group that owns WXII; Sinclair Broadcast Group; Gray Television; Nexstar and Tegna as station groups choosing to preempt the special, which reunites the cast of the popular Emmy-winning comedy that aired from 2006 to 2013.
Vulture reported that, according to sources familiar with the matter, station owners thought the reunion was “too much of a promotion for the company’s new Peacock streaming platform,” which debuted Wednesday and offers a mix of recent and older NBCUniversal programming, including “30 Rock” reruns, and some new content.
“Station owners are understandably worried about Peacock siphoning viewers from (traditional) TV, particularly since the new platform will offer next-day reruns of NBC shows on its premium tier (and week-late access to reruns on its free level),” according to Vulture.
Asked if the dispute between some station groups and NBC caused the local schedule change, WXII’s Butt said, “There is always dialog at the network/ownership level, but there are always a number of factors taken into account when we disrupt NBC programming. Right now, our local responsibility is to content that speaks to the times we live in and the need to foster positive dialog and understanding in our community.”
She said the decision was made too late to have all the listings changed but “we are promoting the change on our air.”
The special reunites original “30 Rock” cast members, including Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer. It will be streamed on the Peacock service, On Demand and at NBC.com, and will also be shown at 9 p.m. Friday on cable TV on NBCUniversal-owned channels Bravo, USA Network, E!, Oxygen, Syfy and CNBC. It will not air on the Hulu streaming service.
And NBC owns its stations in the top 10 TV markets, so “30 Rock” will air there as scheduled.
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