NBCUniversal Sets 9 Originals For Peacock Premiere

The upcoming streamer's lineup is limited amid production shutdowns

scene from Brave New World
The first season of the science fiction drama Brave New World will be available on Peacock Premium at launch. Steve Schofield/Peacock

NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service Peacock will debut with nine original series and films in July, the company said today, ranging from comedies and dramas to sports programming and shows for kids.

The originals lineup, which will be available for Peacock Premium customers, offers a first look at the kinds of original series Peacock hopes will help it stand out in a crowded streaming market and attract viewers who are, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, streaming in record numbers.

There will be four original series upon Peacock’s debut, including the science fiction drama Brave New World, based on the Aldous Huxley novel; the conspiracy thriller The Capture; U.K workplace comedy series Intelligence, which stars David Schwimmer; and racing history series Lost Speedways, hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. There will also be two full-length feature films, including the comedy Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, starring Psych’s James Roday and Dulé Hill, and In Deep With Ryan Lochte, a documentary following the Olympic swimmer in the aftermath of the 2016 Summer Olympics scandal dubbed Lochtegate and some other suspensions.

Additionally, the streamer will debut with three children’s series on Peacock Kids, including the kids series Curious George, Where’s Waldo? and Cleopatra in Space.

The titles will add to Peacock’s deep bench of library titles, which stem both from NBCUniversal’s television properties and Universal Studios films. Peacock Premium, the second tier of Peacock’s service that will include the originals, will cost $4.99 a month for 15,000 hours of programming.

But the lineup of originals is slim to start; more original series’ premiere dates will be announced later in the year. In April, Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises chairman Matt Strauss told reporters that production shutdowns due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic meant there would be fewer originals than expected.

“Clearly a lot has changed,” Strauss previously said. “The majority of our original productions, like virtually all productions around the world, have paused. For a new service like Peacock, this will materially limit our slate at launch at 2020.”

The pandemic has thrown a wrench into Peacock’s launch plans in more ways than one; the service will not get major promotions this summer timed to the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were postponed for at least a year. (That means that the Lochte documentary will not, in fact, line up with his possible involvement in the games this summer, as was likely expected; Lochte has said he does plan to try competing in the 2021 games.)

NBCUniversal has suggested it may aim to speed up its July 15 premiere date to capitalize on heightened interest in on-demand and live programming, but so far, the date has not changed.  A beta version of the streaming service debuted in April to certain Comcast Xfinity customers, and usage is “pacing ahead” of expectations, NBCUniversal chairman of advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino told media buyers and marketers this week.

NBCUniversal’s hope is that it will be able to offer most Americans access to its Premium Tier, which includes the originals, entirely free through partnerships or bundles with other service providers.

An entirely free tier will debut with 7,500 hours of programming, which NBCUniversal executives have said is aimed at offering a “robust front porch” that will entice viewers to sign up for more. That tier will include select episodes of Peacock’s originals for viewers to sample.

@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.