NBC moving ‘Days of Our Lives’ to Peacock

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

Those sands of the hourglass will soon be exclusively flowing on streaming in a move that reportedly shocked key staffers at the show.

NBC announced Aug. 3, 2022, that its long-running daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” will be moving to its Peacock streaming service.

The series will be available exclusively to premium subscribers, requiring anyone wanting to watch the show to pay at least $4.99 a month for the limited-ad plan.

In its place, “NBC News Daily” will launch, an hour of news-focused content poised to go up against “GMA3: What You Need to Know” in most markets.

NBC said in a statement that a “large percentage” of the “Days” audience already watches the show digitally, though it did not offer specifics.

“Days” airs at 1 p.m., noon central in most markets.

“Days” had previously been renewed through September 2023, which would essentially be at the end of its first season on Peacock.

NBC notably did not announce any renewal news beyond that date.

“Days” has roots going back to 1965 and hit the 14,000-episode milestone in 2020. It is NBC’s longest-running show and produced by Corday Productions Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Soap operas were once a staple of network midday and afternoon programming, but they have become less popular. “Days” moving to streaming will mean there will no longer be any soap opera on NBC’s schedule. ABC still airs “General Hospital” while CBS broadcasts “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless.”

All three networks have largely replaced soaps with news, talk and game show offerings.

The strategy of moving an established network show to streaming isn’t new — most prominently, ABC announced it’s sendingDancing with the Stars” to Disney+ when its new season debuts in the fall of 2022 (Alfonso Ribeiro later joined as co-host).

“Dancing,” like “Days,” could be seen as falling out of favor with viewers; ratings have been slipping over the years, though that also follows an overall trend of viewers shifting from network TV to streaming and digital offerings.

Moving a show off-network means that it typically isn’t available for free over the air anymore, essentially locking it behind a paywall.

Soap operas were once a popular way to fill daytime audiences because they targeted women who did not work — thus enabling advertisers to reach an audience in a position to influence household spending on many products. As more women entered the workforce, this paradigm shifted but the shows remained relatively popular among a broader age group, even attracting some loyal millennial audiences.

Even so, soaps still tend to skew older in demographics because they air during the day when younger audiences are less likely to be home (even despite shifts to work from home or hybrid models). This change could pose problems with older audiences who aren’t as familiar with how streaming works and who might be less likely to sign up. To audiences not willing to adopt streaming or pay the monthly fee for Peacock premium NBC, may have essentially just canceled “Days.”

NBC and other streamers have been working to build tighter integration with pay TV providers and the familiar on-screen guides that most viewers are familiar with, so users with compatible equipment may still be able to find and watch “Days” on-demand that way. Comcast Xfinity subscribers, among others, already get the ad-supported tier of Peacock premium included in their subscriptions.

Soaps have long been considered comparatively less expensive to produce than primetime dramas thanks to back-to-back filming schedules, fewer stops between takes to adjust lighting and multi-camera setups.

The result is that lighting designers had to broadly bathe sets in light, instead of being able to adjust lighting during every take like is often done with primetime, single-camera shows. This resulted in a distinctive look for the shows that also became a key part of their legacy.

News programs, however, also have relatively low production costs, especially when a network already has a substantial news division in place.

Sending “Days” to Peacock could be seen as either a strategic move to boost original content there while also opening up streaming to new demographics — or a death warrant for the show.

It’s hard not to see the shift as NBC sending the show out to pasture and its eventual cancellation come 2023, though the network has not announced its plans beyond the current season. Much of that may depend on how well the show performs on Peacock.