The Office moving to NBCU streaming service; is One Chicago next?

ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
ONE CHICAGO -- Pictured: "One Chicago" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal) /

The Office is leaving Netflix for the new NBCUniversal streaming service. What does that mean for One Chicago’s streaming future?

NBCUniversal announced Tuesday that The Office is leaving Netflix and joining the company’s new streaming service. With the move of one of NBC‘s most well-known shows, could One Chicago be far behind?

The Office leaving Netflix is a huge deal, because it’s one of the most popular shows streaming on the service, even though it ended in 2013.

What are NBC’s most popular series now? This Is Us and the One Chicago franchise have the best ratings. So if NBCUniversal is going after beloved shows to build their streaming platform, the trio of Chicago shows will almost certainly be on their short list.

The company hasn’t made any official statement yet, but it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t make a play for Dick Wolf‘s franchise.

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Obviously, NBCUniversal is going to target shows for their own networks for their streaming service. That is what TV fans would expect to find there! So things from NBC, USA, Bravo, et al. would all be options.

The One Chicago franchise is coming off an amazing season, with multiple shows experiencing big ratings now that they’re all together on Wednesdays. Now they command some of the biggest live audiences on NBC.

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So why not find a way to put them on an NBCU platform? Why not capitalize on that growing live viewership by offering people a place to catch up, or rewatch their favorite episodes?

Hulu is fine, but it’s incomplete; only recently did more than five episodes of any of the shows make it onto there. You still can’t watch more than the five latest installments of Chicago Fire.

And frankly, the current off-network situation is a disservice to the franchise and its fans. As we discussed last summer, only Chicago PD has a syndication deal, despite Fire having been on longer and with more episodes.

So there are some over-the-air reruns, but only for one of the three shows. That’s definitely not what this franchise deserves, given that it’s approaching almost a decade on the air.

NBCU has every reason to acquire One Chicago; it just depends on what the current agreement with Hulu entails. Comcast, NBCU’s parent company, has a 33 percent stake in Hulu but gave up control of the service to Disney last month—so they don’t have a strong loyalty there anymore.

They could move the One Chicago shows whenever the streaming contract expires, just like The Office will remain on Netflix until 2021 because that’s when that agreement is up. And that would be extraordinarily good business; the one thing fans of this franchise don’t have is a place where they can easily find and watch every episode of all three series.

Keep your eye on this situation as it develops in the next year-plus, because what happens with this new NBCUniversal streaming service will more than likely affect our favorite franchise. And if it goes the way it should, it could be everything One Chicago fans have been asking for.

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