NBC Will Air a Series of Hourlong News Programs in Prime Time

By A.J. Katz 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the country, America’s hunger for live news programming is as strong as it’s ever been. Our recent ratings stories reinforce this statement.

Capitalizing on this increased interest in news, broadcast networks will likely start to look at launching COVID-themed programming in prime time.

NBC is the first broadcast network to do just that. The network will launch a new show next week that will air on three consecutive Tuesdays, but Variety reports that the prime-time program could keep going for even longer.

The new one-hour NBC News Special Report: Coronavirus Pandemic will air across NBC, MSNBC and the company’s livestreaming news service NBC News Now starting Tuesday, March 31 at 10 p.m. The drama New Amsterdam had been airing in that Tuesday 10 p.m. slot.

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes:

During the programs, viewers can submit questions to NBC News personnel including NBC and MSNBC correspondent Dr. John Torres, and NBC News and MSNBC contributor Dr. Joseph Fair, NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen and NBC News senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle. Jones says the reports will also seek to get new details from key newsmakers.

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie will anchor the hourlong show in its first week, and Lester Holt is also expected to anchor the series as it continues.

Could this end up being a Nightline-type show—meaning a long-running news program that was borne out of a crisis?

It’s obviously too early to tell (Nightline has been on the air for 40 years), but NBC News specials chief Rashida Jones said that while the show is only scheduled for three weeks, it will remain “for as long as there is a need, for as long as this continues to be relevant and people continue to engage. That will determine how long we do it.”