NBC doubles ‘Today’

Web will rebroadcast ayem on cabler

NBC News has greenlit a plan to double-pump its top-rated “Today” show by skedding same-day rebroadcasts of the breakfastcast on all-news cabler MSNBC.

Repeats of the Peacock’s two-hour morning show will run weekdays at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST, after NBC’s owned-and-affiliated broadcast stations in all time zones have aired “Today.” First rebroadcast will be Monday.

The repeat edition of “Today” will be changed only slightly for broadcast on MSNBC, with Ann Curry’s news segs replaced by live inserts from MSNBC anchor Lori Stokes.

The move is the latest attempt by NBC News to take advantage of the “Today” brand name. Earlier this month, the network launched a pre-dawn newscast called “Early Today” and an hour-long talker dubbed “Later Today.”

Costs amortized

The so-called “repurposing” of “Today” on MSNBC is also designed to further amortize the costs of operating NBC News while pumping up Nielsen numbers for MSNBC.

The cabler repackages segments of NBC’s primetime newsmag “Dateline” and early this year experimented with same-day rebroadcasts of Sunday talker “Meet the Press.”

Soon after MSNBC launched three years ago, NBC attempted to run whole editions of “Dateline,” but quickly scrapped the idea after affils howled.

Balance of power shift

The move to rerun “Today” demonstrates how much the balance of power has shifted in the web-affil relationship. Indeed, Peacock affils Tuesday said they’re resigned to the recycling on MSNBC and CNBC.

“We’re not happy about it, but that’s the direction that the business is going,” said Tony Vinciquerra, exec VP and chief operating officer of Hearst-Argyle Television, which owns 11 NBC affils in markets ranging from Sacramento to Monterey, Calif.

“But I also don’t expect a great mad rush of viewers to see the ‘Today’ show at 1 p.m.,” he added.

The NBC affiliate board is in the process of negotiating a broad, long-term agreement with the web, covering repurposing and other contentious issues. The Peacock is expected to concede to some limits on the amount of programming that can be rerouted to its cablers. ABC and its affils hammered out a similar deal earlier this year.

Alan Frank, chairman of the NBC affiliates board and general manager of WDIV Detroit, called the move “very short-sighted, and not in the best interests of the ‘Today’ show.”