NBCUniversal is folding seven local digital news and lifestyle subchannels into a single national channel that will air retro reruns during the day and lifestyle programs in primetime, the network told TheWrap.
The subchannels of NBC affiliates are called NBC Nonstop channels, and the network said in November that it would roll them into one new national channel called Nonstop. But the new plans call for more extensive changes, including adding reruns and a potential name change. "Bob TV" is one name under consideration.
The new national network won't air local news programs, since California news may not play to viewers in Chicago or Miami. But local channels will still have the option of pre-empting the national network's programming to air local news shows if they choose.
The lifestyle programs, meanwhile, will be designed to play across all markets.
"We are planning to convert the Nonstop channels into one channel that will feature original lifestyle and archived programming, as well as local newscasts specific to each market," NBC spokeswoman Liz Fischer told TheWrap.
Nonstop shows aren't rated by Nielsen because the channels are digital. But Nonstop's content might be most familiar to passengers in New York City taxicabs: One of its best-known lifestyle shows is "Talk Stoop," in which NBCNewYork's Cat Greenleaf interviews celebrities on her own Brooklyn porch as a bulldog naps in the background.
"Talk Stoop" (photo, top with Brooke Shields), which features host Cat Greenleaf interviewing celebrities on her the stoop outside her home in Brooklyn, airs in New York cabs as well across other Nonstop channels. WNBC estimated for The New York Times in 2010 that up to 40 million people may see "Talk Stoop" each month in taxis and on other LCD screens in delis, in trains or wherever screens may creep.
The seven Nonstop channels are doing well, but require separate 24/7 programming, according to an NBC executive.
The archived shows — a.k.a. reruns — may include such NBC properties as "Knight Rider" and "Little House on the Prairie," another person familiar with the plan told TheWrap.
Valari Staab (right), president of NBC Owned Television Stations, runs the Nonstop channels and developed plans for the new network. Meredith McGinn, who reports to Staab, will run the new channel.
The Nonstop channels include NBC California Nonstop (airing in Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area), as well as Nonstop channels in New York, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Washington, and Miami.
It's unclear what shows will stay and go, but the lifestye shows that play across all regions — like "Talk Stoop" — would seem to have the best chance of survival.
Other shows wouldn't play as well nationwide, including California's Nonstop "The Morning Mix," featuring reports from different California NBC affiliates' broadcasts, and "The Filter With Fred Roggin," featuring the KNBC-Los Angeles sports anchor interviewing guests and offering commentary about the week's local news.
But the California channels could choose to air those shows, or similarly local ones, in place of the national programming once the new network is in place.