NBC giving affiliates 90-second cut-ins during afternoon Olympics coverage this summer

NBC will give its affiliates 90-second windows to produce cut-ins during its coverage of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Most of these will be slated to air around 5 p.m. local time on select days, when many stations would normally begin their early evening newscasts. Changes and increases in Olympics programming mean that NBC will be taking over the 5 p.m. timeslot in addition to primetime hours to air coverage of the games.

That likely didn’t sit well with local stations, who rely on these newscasts to generate a substantial amount of their local revenue. 

Stations will be allowed to use the time to promote local news, weather and sports updates and teases for their late local newscasts, but are restricted from airing any advertising. NBC separately gives affiliates local breaks that they can sell advertising for. 

Olympics are a key time for NBC affiliates to capitalize on the large viewing audiences the coverage tends to attract — and hopefully use it to get viewers to stick around for local news when primetime ends at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.

From a technical standpoint, the system will likely work much like the local news and weather cut-ins most NBC affiliates provide during shows such as “Today” and “NBC News Daily.” Most of these functions are handled by computerized master control systems at group hubs or individual stations that tie into the network feed, which can send alerts to the computer systems as to when to switch over to locally-produced content. 

Similar technology also handles switching between national and local commercial breaks during network programs.