NBC considering ‘Dateline’ spinoff

'Timeline' special could be expanded to series

NEW YORK — NBC’s “Dateline” juggernaut — which already airs five times a week — may soon spawn a spinoff.

With no advance hype, the Peacock last Sunday aired a backdoor pilot for a retooled version of “Dateline” based on the newsmag’s regular “Timeline” feature, in which viewers are asked to guess which year a series of news events occurred. For the special, the “Timeline” hook was used as a way to set up four individual stories, all of which were related in some way to a particular year.

Because NBC doesn’t have a permanent 7 p.m. Sunday show, the web “is looking for (programs) to put on” in the timeslot, and may ask for more “Timeline” specials, according to an NBC insider. NBC is also testing out entertainment programs in the Sunday slot.

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