Like sands through the hourglass, another iconic TV title is switching to streaming: NBC’s Days of our Lives will become a Peacock exclusive starting September 12, Vulture has learned. The move will end the show’s 57-year run on broadcast television and also marks the exit of NBC from a genre it pioneered 73 years ago with the launch in 1949 of These Are My Children, widely credited as TV’s first-ever daytime sudser. It comes as two other major broadcast titles — Thursday Night Football and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars — prepare to shift to streaming this fall.
In the case of Days, there has been industry speculation about it jumping to Peacock for some time now. The series, produced by Corday Prods. in association with Sony Pictures Television, has dodged cancellation multiple times over the past 15 years, with Sony and NBC often engaged in very last-minute negotiations to hammer out deals that make financial sense to both parties. Days has been the least-watched of the four remaining network daytime dramas for years now, making it increasingly difficult for NBC execs to justify keeping the show around absent reduced license fees (which Sony has largely been able to deliver).
But while it may not be massive, the Days audience remains incredibly loyal, and NBCU/Peacock execs are hoping it will follow the show to Peacock. The streamer has made a point of targeting various fandoms as it tries to build its subscriber base, spending big to become the home of WWE on streaming, for example. NBCU has also decided to forgo the not-insignificant advertising revenue it gets from NBC programs appearing next-day on Hulu in order to move that encore window over to Peacock starting next month.
Despite a very strong first quarter — boosted by the Super Bowl, the Olympics, Bel-Air, and Marry Me — the streamer’s growth stalled during the spring, bringing new urgency to NBCU’s effort to grow its subscriber base. Peacock has already tested the ability of Days to woo customers by airing a couple of exclusive Days-branded miniseries on the platform. There’s been no word on how the specials performed, but presumably Peacock execs were encouraged enough by the data they saw to push to get the show as a streaming exclusive. They also may have been motivated by the fact that NBC’s contract for Days has just one more season left on it, offering a limited window for NBCU to explore whether the show is more valuable on streaming than broadcast.
“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,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said of the decision. “With a large percentage of the Days of Our Lives audience already watching digitally, this move enables us to build the show’s loyal fan base on streaming while simultaneously bolstering the network daytime offering with an urgent, live programming opportunity for partners and consumers.” NBC will fill the gap left by Days with a new one-hour news program, NBC News Daily, anchored by Kate Snow, Aaron Gilchrist, Vicky Nguyen, and Morgan Radford.
NBC’s decision to get out of the soap business means there are just three daytime soaps on American broadcast TV: ABC’s General Hospital and CBS’s The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. The genre was a staple of network schedules between the mid-1960s and early 1990s, when there were never fewer than a dozen sudsers on the air; in early 1970, the number peaked at a whopping 19.