NBC Affiliates Opt Out of '30 Rock' Upfront Special

A host of station groups are choosing not to air the special, which doubles as NBCUniversal's pitch to advertisers.
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Viewers may have a hard time finding NBC's 30 Rock special Thursday, as a number of affiliate groups do not want to go to there.

Station groups, including Nexstar, Tegna, Hearst, Gray Television and Sinclair, are having their NBC affiliates opt out of airing the special, which also doubles as NBCUniversal's upfront pitch to advertisers. The special, produced in part by NBCU's ad sales division, will highlight all of the larger company's assets, including the Peacock streaming service that launches nationally Wednesday, and won't feature traditional ad breaks.

The focus on Peacock and other areas of the company was part of the reason for station groups opting out of the special (which they reserve the right to do), sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Affiliates were not pleased with NBCU's decision to stream episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers on Peacock a couple hours ahead of their over-the-air broadcasts (a decision that will go into effect once both shows return to full studio production). 

NBC's owned-and-operated stations — which cover about 40 percent of the U.S. population and include most of the nation's biggest markets — will air the 30 Rock reunion, which will feature Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer, among others. It will also be available Friday on Peacock and NBC's website and app. NBCU cable channels USA, Bravo, Syfy and CNBC will all air the special Friday night.

Vulture first reported the station groups opting out of the special.