'30 Rock' Reunion Special Won't Be Broadcast On NBC Stations In More Than Half The Country

More than seven years after it went off the air, 30 Rock is returning to television this Thursday night.

But a new report reveals that more than half of the country won't be able to watch the reunion special because NBC's largest local affiliate groups are refusing to broadcast it. Find out the reason for the affiliates' beef with this particular reunion, and how you can see it even if you live in an area where it won't be broadcast.

Most NBC Affiliates Won't Broadcast the 30 Rock Special

According to Vulture, at least half the country will not be able to watch 30 Rock: A One-Time Special on television when it debuts Thursday night because some of the largest TV station groups in the country, including Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar, Tegna, and Sinclair Broadcast Group, will preempt the broadcast with other programming.

Why? Well, the TV station groups all think the 30 Rock special is too much of a promotion for Peacock, NBCUniversal's new streaming service (which is set to launch tomorrow). And they might actually have a point: the special was reportedly "produced by the NBCUniversal ad-sales division as a replacement for the usual upfront presentation," and it seems likely that the special will essentially be a giant advertisement for all things NBCUniversal – including, naturally, its brand new streaming service.

In an era where people are ditching traditional TV in favor of subscribing to streaming services, it makes sense that TV station groups are hesitant to provide free advertising to a rival. And as Vulture points out, Peacock is a big threat because it offers next-day reruns of NBC shows on its premium tier and access to reruns after just one week on its free tier. Producing a Peacock ad dressed in a 30 Rock reunion costume is rubbing salt in the wound for these affiliates, who are already mad about the new streaming service offering new episodes of its late night shows to audiences hours earlier than they traditionally air.

How to Watch the 30 Rock Special Anyway

If you find yourself in a market that preempts the broadcast with other programming this Thursday night, the easiest way to catch up with Liz Lemon and the gang is to just go to NBC.com and watch it there. The special will also be put on cable video on demand platforms and, hilariously, Peacock (but not Hulu). The affiliates will ultimately "win" this fight because most viewers probably don't even know that a 30 Rock special is dropping this week to begin with, but they could easily end up driving a segment of the audience who cares about 30 Rock straight into Peacock's open arms.

30 Rock: A One-Time Special is set to air, at last in some markets, on July 16, 2020 at 8:00 P.M. ET.