EXCLUSIVEPeacock launched, some as necessary due to the pandemic, original comedies as well as dramas repackaged from NBCUniversal linear networks. In its first year since launching in July 2020, the Peacock introduced comedies Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, Rutherford Falls and: Girls 5 years oldalong with the drama Brave New Worldwhich was originally produced for USA Network.
None of these shows are on the platform yet. And as broadcaster NBCUniversal heads into 2023 with its first full slate of originals developed by Suzanne Rovner, head of Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, and her team, it’s also fine-tuning its development strategy for the next phase of its evolution. with a greater emphasis on drama-led action-driven series, with a focus on a large amount of comedy, as well as more true-crime limited docu-series and unscripted celebrity-driven shows.
As Deadline can exclusively reveal, some of the projects under that strategy shift that NBCU executives have been pitching to the agency community include a horror thriller; Ian McCulloch and genre filmmaker James Wan and dating reality series Queen’s Court Starring Tamar Braxton, Evelyn Lozada and Nivea, both of whom have appeared in TV series and true crime docuseries The world’s most famous killers and: The Myth of the Zodiac Killerwhich were set for development.
After an early stint with original comedy series that didn’t garner much attention, Peacock is shifting the balance to about 2/3 drama and 1/3 comedy in development for next year, but sticking to comedy in the wake of its success. Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlinwhich I hear is nearing a Season 2 renewal.
The course correction is based on feedback from a larger sample as Peacock has grown its user base and their engagement levels. While still lagging far behind its mainstream streaming rivals in terms of reach, Peacock made progress in 2022, more than doubling its paid subscribers to more than 18 million during the year, as well as more than 30 million monthly active accounts (including bundled and free ), with 20 hours of engagement per week. Growth was fueled by last fall’s move from Hulu to NBC and Bravo’s next-day programming, receiving day-and-day Universal films such as: The end of HalloweenPay 1 window movies like Jurassic Park Dominion and: Minions. The Rise of Grulive events like the World Cup and NFL football, as well as content deals like the recently opened Hallmark Center and live NBC local affiliate channels.
Increased traffic allowed Peacock to crack Nielsen’s streaming ratings for the first time this fall, first The end of Halloween and then the smart 2020 off-grid acquisition, Yellowstone, on the series side. It also informed Rovner and his team’s development goals for the year ahead as they look to cater to the people who consume Peacock content and deliver something the broadcaster has yet to find, a platform-defining series.
According to talent representatives, NBCU is willing to spend on a high-profile show Dragon House, LOTR. Rings of Power or Stranger Things and is willing to go after big stars, hoping to lure them away with the prospect of using them in the portfolio and cross-promoting their projects.
Here are more details on Peacock’s current development plans across genres.
There’s a lot of focus on big, event-driven dramas, which usually generate subscriptions. While not going for the usual blue-sky fare like the USA Network shows of the 2000s and early 2010s, Peacock mostly plans to stay away from sad and depressing shows, I hear. The platform requires performances with strong sponsorships attached, but is also open to specific scripts, along with upcoming sci-fi dramas. Mrs. DavisFrom Damon Lindelof and Tara Hernandez coming off the last route.
The broadcaster also has high hopes for the finished new series Knives out! mystery series of the week from filmmaker Rian Johnson An expressionless face Natasha Lyonne in the lead role. The best man. The final chapters limited series based on popular Universal IP, with the original stars of the films returning and in production Based on a true story Kaley Cuoco in the lead role. As Peacock is still looking for its big breakthrough, Peacock has so far bagged several dramas including IP-based Bel Air and a true crime anthology Dr. Mah, which has managed to attract big names.
In development, Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to the writer’s contemporary horror thriller Ian McCulloch (Yellowstone), atomic monster James Wan (The Conjuring: Space) and UCP.
Inspired by the bestselling novel Stinger Directed by Robert McCammon, the series follows a disparate group of people on a ranch who must come together in the face of a mysterious threat.
EL Katz (The Haunting of Bly Manor) will direct the opening episode and executive produce alongside Wan, Michael Clear and Rob Hackett for Atomic Monster, McCulloch and McCammon. Daniel Bozon will oversee Atomic Monster.
“We’re so excited for this adrenaline-fueled thriller about a group of people overcoming adversity that’s both funny and emotional,” said Lisa Katz, President of Scripted Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We know this upcoming drama will be in expert hands from James Wan, E.L. Kats, Ian McCulloch, our colleagues at UCP, and is sure to be a worthy mystery for Peacock audiences.”
While raunchy dramas drive subscriptions, comedies have value as a consistent way to entertain users The office recurs among Peacock’s most popular offerings. Later, the broadcaster will prioritize comedy series.
The change in direction comes after very few original comedies have broken through on the platform, especially the most popular Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin which delivered the Peacock’s biggest comedy launch to date and is wrapping up a Season 2 renewal, I hear. It eclipsed the Peacock’s previous top comedy debut, Craig Robinson killing it which will return for a second season next year.
Peacock plans to continue betting on comedies based on popular IP and starring big names, and has several upcoming shows in that zone, including Seth MacFarlane’s. Ted, based on Pete Davidson’s hit films Bupkisis Community: movie as well Twisted Metal: With Anthony Mackie.
Along with that, Peacock is looking for lower priced comedies that are special and/or quirky as the next one. Paul T. Goldman from Borat 2: directed by Jason Walliner. Recently ordered in knowledge Peacock’s first adult animated comedy also falls into that category.
Peacock is looking to build its unheralded brand in two areas: entertaining reality shows for the Bravo audience that flocked to the broadcaster. Island of loveand true-crime limited series Oxygen/Dateline for audiences controversial—and well-watched— Casey Anthony. Where is the truth?
In the first area, Peacock scored Queen’s CourtA new 10-episode dating series from top producer Will Packer featuring three Queens: Tamar Braxton, Evelyn Lozada (Basketball women) and Nivea, who combine their dating lives to find the other half of their power couple. The series is hosted by Holly Robinson Pitt and her husband Rodney Pitt, whose insight into relationships guides the queens through the ups and downs of dating 21 confident and successful men.
The show is executive produced by Packer and Kelly Smith of Will Packer Media, Jeff Spangler and Rob LaPlante of Lighthearted Entertainment, with a series Big D recently moved from Peacock TBS as well as the company’s Trifari Williams.
In the true crime arena, Peacock thrives The world’s most famous killers and: The Myth of the Zodiac Killer.
The world’s most famous killers is an anthology series that looks at shocking crimes that have occurred around the world. Its first six-episode run, produced by Britain’s ITN, will focus on the infamous British ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, Fred and Rose West, who were on a multi-year crime spree in the UK.
The Myth of the Zodiac Killer begs the question, what if the Zodiac Killer was never caught… is that he never existed in the first place.
The series is produced by Texas Crew Productions and Pyramid Productions, with Brad Bernstein, Andrew Nock, Ann Paterno, Cynthia Childs and David Karabinas producing for Texas Crew and James Buddy Day for Pyramid.
Peacock also has an upcoming competition reality series The traitors hosted by Alan Cummings and The fine Swedish art of death cleansing from Amy Poehler as part of its longstanding relationship with NBCUniversal.
Another comedy star, Kevin Hart, was an early adopter of the Peacock talk show Heart To Heart: and his interpretation of the Olympic Games. He continues the relationship with the year-end special 2022 Back to that Year Up alongside Kenan Thompson, and is also gearing up for a Peacock comedy special as the broadcaster begins to up the ante in an area where it has only done a handful of specials to date.
Wan is repped by CAA, Stacey Testro International and Myman Greenspan Fox. Katz is repped by CAA, Grandview and Myman Greenspan Fox. McCulloch is repped by CAA, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett & Kole. McCammon is repped by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Cameron McClure at Donald Maas Literary Agency and Allison Binder at Goodman Genow Schenkman.