As the newly assembled streaming companies pay out hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to shows that got their start on NBC, the broadcast network wants to take back the credit.
This week, Netflix shelled out more than $500 million for the global rights to Seinfeld, which aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998 and formed the foundation of the network’s famous “must-see TV” lineup.
WarnerMedia laid out $425 million to reclaim the rights to Friends, which was famously paired with Seinfeld and aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004.
Comcast-owned NBCUniversal itself brought its own The Office back into the fold, paying $500 million—or $100 million per year for five years—to get the rights back from Netflix. The Office, which is now one of Netflix’s most-streamed shows, aired on NBC from 2005 to 2013 and starred Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson.
More recent NBC comedies—including The Good Place, Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation —all have developed devoted fan bases who found the shows on streaming platforms. Now, with the impending arrival of NBCU’s streaming service Peacock in April, NBC wants those fans back.
On air, the campaign will fall under the slogan, “Comedy Starts Here,” and will include spots like the one above, featuring The Good Place’s Ted Danson, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg, Park and Rec and Making It‘s Nick Offerman and more, reports Variety.
“We just have had this growing sense over the past couple of years that we were getting our comedy mojo back,” NBC Entertainment president of marketing and digital Len Fogge told the magazine. “Especially in an era where our comedies go elsewhere, we came up with the line ‘comedy starts here.’ Because it does. The shows that are so popular on streaming services are NBC comedies… For people who know it, we remind them and for people who don’t, we want to let them know this is an NBC show.”
In the above spot, Danson—who also starred in one of NBC’s all-time great sitcoms, Cheers—introduces viewers to NBC’s boss, the Peacock.
“Yeah, we’re always lucky when the boss stops by the writers’ room,” chimes in Sandberg.
“Peacock is more than just our leader,” concludes Offerman. “He’s our mentor, he’s our confidante, he’s our disciplinarian. You can see his touch—the sort of pastiche of color that he brings to everything that we do at NBC and we owe it all to this guy right here.”
READ MORE: Variety