Today’s the day. NBCUniversals’s new streaming service, Peacock officially launches today. Peacock is just the newest streaming service to hit the market after the likes of CBS All Access, AppleTV, Quibi and Disney+. For months now, NBC has aired commercials about how the many TV series that will be airing on the service – and it is a lot – for free. But as it turns out, that is not the whole picture. If you want to see it all, which is nearly impossible, you’ll need to shell out $4.99-$9.99 per month for the “premium tier.” Will it be worth it? That remains to be seen.
If you are of a certain age, you remember when we had just three national TV channels and a handful of local channels. Then came the premium cable channels. Then came Netflix and Hulu and everything changed again. Now we have more streaming services than most of us can count all promising “old favorites” as well as lot of new content and Peacock is definitely in the mix.
According NBCUniversal, Peacock will offer consumers “world-class collection of the best live and on demand programming” with over 20,000 hours of premium content from networks and studios including NBC, Bravo, USA Network, SYFY, Oxygen, E!, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Universal Kids, A&E, ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, HISTORY, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Focus Features, Illumination, ViacomCBS, Paramount, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. and Blumhouse.
In addition, the service will feature Peacock Original movies and shows; more than 30 curated channels; current season series and specials from NBC and Telemundo; live news and sports; as well as daily trending highlights from TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, Noticias Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, E! News and Access Hollywood. Whew!
“This is a historic moment for our company as we proudly introduce Peacock to consumers nationwide—a groundbreaking vision that was brought to life by an incredible team of people from across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky,” said Matt Strauss, Chairman of Peacock. “From current, classic and original movies and shows, to live news, sports, curated channels and trending content from around the world, Peacock is the only free, premium ad-supported streaming service that brings together everything consumers love about television and streaming—all in one place.”
So, here is how it works: Peacock offers an ad-supported free tier and an ad-supported premium tier for $4.99/month, serving no more than five minutes of advertising per hour. An ad-free version of the premium tier is also available for $9.99/month.
The Free Tier
For many, Peacock’s free tier will be more than enough entertainment, more than 13,000 hours of content to be exact including new episodes of current NBC shows (one week after they air live) and many episodes of many previous hit TV series.
Comedies including 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, The Johnny Carson Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Leave It To Beaver, The Munsters, and Everybody Hates Chris.
Dramas including Friday Night Lights, Downton Abbey, Parenthood, Monk, Heroes, Psych, The Game, Suits, Sacred Lies, Royal Pains, Battlestar Galactica, Columbo, Hunter, The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, Highlander and Murder She Wrote.
Reality TV series including Below Deck, Southern Charm, Chrisley Knows Best, Botched, Flipping Out, Million Dollar Listing New York, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Real Housewives of Dallas, Real Husbands of Hollywood, Jay Leno’s Garage, Shahs of Sunset and Undercover Boss.
Competition series like Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, Hollywood Game Night and American Ninja Warrior Jr.
Kids series including Kong: The Animated Series, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, Fievel’s American Tails and Woody Woodpecker.
Spanish-language titles like Betty en NY, I Love Jenni, Reina De Corazones, The Riveras, Preso No. 1, Caso Cerrado, El Baron, El Chema, Larrymania, Perro Amor, Mi Familia Perfecta, Quien es Quien, Victoria and Donde Esta Elisa.
The huge roster of movies include The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Tully, Phantom Thread, The Interpreter, American Psycho, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, The Blair Witch Project, The Mummy, Joe, Fletch, Fletch Lives, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury, Fear, Psycho, Do the Right Thing, Howard the Duck, Billy Elliot, The Birds, Willie, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, The Last House On The Left, I Am Ali, In The Name of the Father, Lone Ranger, The Hitcher, Law Abiding Citizen, The Sting, What Dreams May Come, Fried Green Tomatoes, One True Thing, Gosford Park, Dracula and Dragnet.
Live sports in the free tier include four exclusive Premier League matches on July 15, coverage of the U.S. Open Championship and Women’s Open Championships, an NFL Wild Card Playoff Game, and select events from the upcoming Tokyo and Beijing Olympics. In addition, sports fans will enjoy on demand replays of events like Triple Crown horse races, daily highlights from NBC Sports, and hundreds of hours of sports series, documentaries and films such as Tiger Woods Chasing History, 1968, I Am Ali, Dream Team, Being Evel, Feherty, Willie, and Peacock Originals Lost Speedways and In Deep with Ryan Lochte.
Both free and premium tiers will feature current season hits from NBC, timely news, sports and pop culture highlights, and dozens of genre channels including live news from NBC News Now and Sky News, exclusive curated channels featuring the best moments from your favorite shows with catchy names like Office Shorts, SNL Vault, Fallon Tonight, Seth Meyers Now and exclusive genre channels like CNBC Make It, TODAY All Day, CNBC Ka-Ching, American Greed, 80s Mixtape, True Crime, Kiss Me Deadly, Peacock Reality, Out of This World, Caso Cerrado and I Love Jenni among others.
The Premium Tier
For those wanting even more, Peacock Premium will feature access to all 20,000 hours of programming on the platform, including everything in the free tier plus the full catalog of Peacock Originals including new shows like Brave New World, The Capture, Intelligence, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, DreamWorks Where’s Waldo?, DreamWorks Cleopatra In Space and Curious George
Other shows popular series are included such as Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, George Lopez, Jeff Foxworthy Show, King of Queens, Superstore, Frasier, Cheers, House, The Affair, Yellowstone, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Ray Donovan, Swedish Dicks and American Ninja Warrior; kids series including DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, Care Bears and Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot; and the entire movie collection including titles like Shrek, Lone Survivor, Ted, Identity Thief, Children of Men, Charlie Wilson’s War, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Frankenstein, Kicking and Screaming, Larry Crowne, and You, Me & Dupree.
The premium tier will also provide earlier access to programming, such as next-day access to new episodes of current season NBC shows Exclusive access to Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 8:00 pm ET will only be available on Peacock Premium when the shows return to in-studio production.
Peacock Premium will also feature access to a growing catalog of live and on demand sports programming, including more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches for the 2020-2021 season; coverage of elite cycling events like the Tour De France from August 29 – September 20, and La Vuelta from October 20 – November 8; and more than 100 hours of WWE content coming in August including series WWE Untold and Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions, and compilations like John Cena’s Best WrestleMania Matches.
New Originals Coming Later This Summer
In addition to the nine Peacock Originals launching with the service today, Peacock has announced premiere dates for more original series to debut in the coming weeks, including:
When disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Glenn Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing into Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear that he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids’ brainpower for his own benefit. But are his students instead helping him to realize his dream job might actually be the one he has right now? The series also stars Patton Oswalt, Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, Jean Villepique and Paula Pell.
Best friends Jamie (Mel Giedroyc) and Fran (Sue Perkins) are trying to make their way in the world with only each other to rely on. They also just happen to kill people for a living. Fueled by their antics and frivolous bickering, each job inevitably gets derailed, leading them into bizarre misadventures, full of oddball characters and unexpected dilemmas.
Passenger plane Flight 716 shockingly vanishes, and brilliant investigator Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife), alongside her mentor Howard Lawson (Christopher Plummer, Knives Out) are brought on to lead the investigation. When battling forces threaten to undermine their work, Kendra must find the truth and stop it from happening again. The series also stars Kris Holden-Reid (Umbrella Academy), Rebecca Liddiard (Run This Town), Tamara Duarte (Longmire), Mark Rendall (Versailles), Peter Mensah (Midnight, Texas) and Sasha Roiz (Suits).
Five singles meet at the singles’ table at a wedding. After several bottles of champagne, they decide to pitch in and buy a house together. It’s a grand social experiment with one glaring problem: they’ll have to actually live with each other. All while journeying together through disasters, life-turning crises, and moments of love, joy and heartbreak.
So how much is too much? This remains to be seen.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.