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How to Watch the SAG Awards on Netflix Without Commercials Even if You Have the Ad Tier, and How Long Before It’s Pulled Off the Streamer

Pro tip for Screen Actors Guild Awards viewers: Watch it live. That’s because even those Netflix subscribers on the cheaper advertising tier will still get a commercial-free experience when the telecast runs live on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. After that initial livestream, however, commercial breaks will be inserted into replays for users on the ad tier looking to timeshift and watch the SAG Awards later.

It’s a landmark year for the SAG Awards, for a number of reasons. First off, it’s the 30th anniversary of the event, which returns to the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall — where the kudocast has spent most of its three-decade existence — after two years away. (Last year, it was at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, and in 2022 it took place at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar.)

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Also, it’s the first SAG Awards following last year’s SAG-AFTRA strike and eventual new agreement with the AMPTP. And there’s a new production team behind this year’s SAG Awards: Baz Halpin, Mark Bracco and Linda Gierahn of Silent House Prods. are joining SAG-AFTRA’s Jon Brockett as exec producers.

But perhaps most strikingly, this reps the first official year for the SAG Awards to stream on Netflix. (Last year, due to the last-minute licensing deal between SAG-AFTRA and Netflix, it only ran on Netflix’s YouTube page.) Under the multi-year pact with Netflix, which the L.A. Times reports was worth just $7 million, the SAG Awards becomes the latest major event to move from linear to streaming.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNets — the arm formerly known as Turner — parted ways with the SAG Awards in 2022, after 25 years. TNT had run the SAG Awards since 1998, and then TBS made it a simulcast in 2007. (NBC aired the first three years of the SAG Awards, which launched in 1995.)

The final SAG Awards on the TNets averaged 1.8 million total viewers in 2022. It’s difficult to say how many people watched the show last year: Although the number reported was 1.5 million views, that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to the usual Nielsen average number.

And we may never know how many people tune in live to the SAG Awards this Saturday on Netflix — that’s the kind of number the streamer will never share. (The only live streaming event with Nielsen total viewer figures remains Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football.) If the telecast pops up on Nielsen’s or Netflix’s rankers, we’ll get some idea of how it performed, but that’s still a different kind of number than how viewership was reported when the SAG Awards ran on the TNets.

This year’s SAG Awards will once again run for two hours, and the commercial-free format follows last year’s run on Netflix’s YouTube page, which was also without ads.

“We’ve been brainstorming a lot of really great ideas for some creative elements and interstitials that sort of take us away from the main stage at different times,” Bracco recently told Variety. Brockett added that because there’s no hard and fast time limit on the streamer, acceptance speeches can go long: “We kind of give them a general time [limit] ahead of time, but if we really feel like a speech is engaging and compelling, then we’ll let it go on as long as it needs to.”

The SAG Awards will continue to be available on Netflix for replays up until 28 days after the event, when contractually it must be removed from the streamer. Meanwhile, after the live “Love is Blind” debacle, Netflix insiders believe they’ve ironed out their livestream issues. Since then, Netflix has pulled off “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage” (March 4, 2023), “Love Is Blind: Brazil Season 3 The Live Reunion” (July 2, 2023) and “The Netflix Cup” (November 14, 2023) without an issue. Next up, the streamer has “The Netflix Slam” live event on March 3.

Idris Elba is set to open this year’s kudocast, which will include Jennifer Aniston presenting Barbra Streisand with the 59th SAG Life Achievement Award. Presenters include Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt coming together on stage for a “The Devil Wears Prada” reunion.

Other presenters include Erika Alexander (“American Fiction”), Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”), Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”), Michael Cera (“Barbie”), Jessica Chastain (“Mothers’ Instinct”), Colman Domingo (“Rustin,” “The Color Purple”), Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”), SAG-AFTRA prexy Fran Drescher, Phil Dunster (“Ted Lasso”), Billie Eilish (“Swarm”), America Ferrera (“Barbie”), Brendan Fraser (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Taraji P. Henson (“The Color Purple”), Troy Kotsur (“CODA”), Greta Lee (“Past Lives,” “The Morning Show”), Melissa McCarthy (“Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story”), Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”), Glen Powell (“Hit Man”), Issa Rae (“American Fiction,” “Barbie”), Storm Reid (“Euphoria”), Margot Robbie (“Barbie”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“American Fiction”), Alexander Skarsgård (“Succession”), Omar Sy (“Lupin”), Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”), Naomi Watts (“Feud: Capote vs. The Swans”), and Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”).

Meanwhile, the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Official Pre-Show, hosted by Tan France and Elaine Welteroth, will stream on Netflix and Netflix’s TikTok and YouTube channels at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Saturday.

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