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Peacock reveals launch date & pricing, teases new D&D adventure, classic sci-fi & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Peacock official

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new entrant into the streaming-service fray, is preening its plumage with new show announcements, news on series we already knew about, and — at last — detailed information on how much your access to that shiny, colorful nest of entertainment goodies is going to cost.

Choice seems to be the buzzword for Peacock subscribers, as the platform unveiled a two-tiered pricing model that starts with "Peacock Free" — an ad-based, no-cost tier for all subscribers that, according to NBCUniversal, opens up 7,500 hours of base NBC programming.

"Peacock Free includes next-day access to current seasons of freshman broadcast series, complete classic series, popular movies, curated daily news, and sports programming including the Olympics, Spanish-language content, select episodes of marquee Peacock originals and tent-pole series, as well as curated Peacock streaming genre channels such as 'SNL Vault,' 'Family Movie Night' and 'Olympic Profiles,'" NBCUniversal said in a release.

Stepping up a notch will get you access to all those originally scripted series — like the new Battlestar Galactica show — that've been buzzing on fans' lips for months. The upgraded tier, dubbed "Peacock Premium," will come bundled free of charge for Comcast and Cox cable subscribers, and cost $4.99 per month for everyone else. At that price point, both subscriber bases will still be viewing an ad-supported version of the service. But subscribers in either group can pay an additional $5 per month to make the ads vanish from Peacock Premium altogether.

"[T]his ad-supported option will additionally include full-season Peacock originals and tent-pole series, next-day access to current seasons of returning broadcast series, early access to late-night talk shows, and additional sports — such as the Premier League — totaling more than 15,000 hours of content," NBCUniversal notes. The platform rolls out starting April 15 for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, followed by a nationwide debut for everyone else beginning July 15.

Topping the fanfare from today’s fresh reveal of several new platform-exclusive series bound for Peacock is The Adventure Zone, a Dungeons & Dragons-inspired comedy based on the McElroy Family’s Dungeons & Dragons podcast and the New York Times best-selling graphic novel series.

Announced earlier in the day ahead of NBCUniversal’s Thursday afternoon promotion to investors at 30 Rockefeller Center, The Adventure Zone, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is pitched as “a side-splitting and heart-filled fantasy animated comedy series that follows an unlikely, poorly equipped trio and their beleaguered Dungeon Master as they reluctantly embark on a quest to save their world.”

Orphan Black writer Adam Higgs reportedly will serve as executive producer and writer, along with co-executive producers Clint McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Griffin McElroy. No details yet on casting or a premiere date, so keep those 20-sided dice warm for now.

D&D might be the latest new show to spread its wings, but it won’t be cave-crawling in genre territory all by its lonesome at Peacock. Biggest of all is the previously announced Battlestar Galactica series, this one led by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. The new series reportedly will offer a fresh new take on the franchise, rather than rebooting the hugely popular, critically acclaimed Ronald D. Moore version from the mid-2000s (or the Glen A. Larson original from the 1970s).

Peacock will also arrive with a beakful of previously announced platform exclusives: the Dr. Death true-crime drama starring Alec Baldwin, Jamie Dornan, and Christian Slater; a new adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World starring Demi Moore and Alden Ehrenreich; the mystery series One of Us Is LyingArmas de Mujer (a Telemundo original); limited series Angelyne; and the new Rutherford Falls comedy from The Good Place creator Mike Schur.

Lastly, while iconic syndicated shows do not a streaming platform solely make, any Friends fan with Netflix withdrawal pains can tell you how vital they are as an enticement to sign on for the overall package. And on that front, Peacock is definitely strutting out the big guns. The service will become the streaming home of a trove of NBC and other classic TV shows including (take a deep breath): 30 Rock, Bates Motel, Battlestar Galactica, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cheers, Chrisley Knows Best, Covert Affairs, Downton Abbey, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Friday Night Lights, House, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, King of Queens, Married ... With Children, Monk, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, Psych, Royal Pains, Saturday Night Live, Superstore, and Will & Grace.

With Peacock — as well as WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi mobile service — all set to hatch while the year’s still young, spring is shaping up to look more and more like the time for some serious feather-ruffling in the ever-incubating saga of streaming competition. The only hard part for fans? Figuring out where to spend your dollars ... and, with so many terrific options, carving out the time that’ll most definitely be required to enjoy it all.

(SYFY and SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal.)