NBCUniversal Debuts ‘Family Movie Night’ With Reduced Commercials

NBCUniversal is premiering “Family Movie Night” across its various networks, including USA Network, Syfy and Telemundo. It starts April 10 with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on USA, Syfy and E!

"Tonight we're thrilled to air our very first ‘Stay-In Theater’ Family Movie night experience,” said Josh Feldman, executive VP, head of marketing & creative advertising, NBCUniversal. “Thanks to presenting sponsor Target, viewers across America can tune-in to family-friendly films, with very limited commercial interruption. Families around the world are staying at home to stay safe and stop the spread. NBCUniversal is committed to providing the content and viewing experiences that will create special family bonding moments."

Kung Fu Panda 2 is on Telemundo April 11.

April 17, it’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on USA, SYFY and E!

April 18 has Zootopia on Telemundo.

April 24 it’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on USA, SYFY and E!

April 25 has Max on Telemundo.

Target is the sponsor.

NBCUniversal is reducing the national ad time to one minute and 15 seconds, down from an average of 35 minutes. Seven minutes of promo time in a three-hour movie slot will show “fun, behind-the-scenes content related to the movie,” said NBCUniversal.

CBS will run a Sunday night movie stunt in May, the movies helping fill the schedule with coronavirus cutting into production of some series.

"We have long-applauded the efforts of national TV networks to bring 'Family Movie Night' into homes across America, and we applaud NBCUniversal for doing so here," said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter. "But we urge them to do so not just on multiple cable networks, where subscribers must pay a monthly sub fee for each of the NBC-owned networks that are airing the same movie; but on their English-language flagship network as well. And we hope all of the broadcast networks will follow this lead."

Why not simulcast on the same night on all the platforms including Telemundo? And why not across the NBC TV stations/network as well?

"There are logistics and programming considerations involved, but expanding the franchise beyond USA/Syfy/E! and Telemundo is definitely on our radar," said an NBCU spokesperson. "Our teams worked closely with the networks to accommodate their programming schedules and their audiences. For example, Telemundo has always had movie nights on Saturdays and we wanted to amplify the film experience for that built in audience."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.