NBC is considering reducing the number of hours it programs in prime time, people familiar with the matter said, a cost-cutting move that would reflect broadcast television’s diminishing popularity. Under the scenario being discussed, NBC would stop programming the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour and give those seven hours per week to local TV stations to program, the people said.
The talks are preliminary and it is possible that NBC will decide to continue to program the 10 p.m. hour, one of the people said. NBC hasn’t officially discussed the matter with its affiliate board, a group that represents station partners, two people close to that organization said. The earliest such a shift could take place would be the fall of 2023. If NBC did drop the hour, it would have to decide which shows in its lineup would get cut. The network currently airs mostly scripted dramas in the 10 p.m. hour. Those could be moved to earlier in the evening to replace other content. If the plan moves forward, the network likely would seek to move up the start time of its late-night programming block including “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. from 11:30 p.m., one of the people familiar with the matter said. That would give Mr. Fallon a jump on his chief rivals, Stephen Colbert at CBS
and Jimmy Kimmel at A …