NBC Premieres Shows On Web, Then Broadcast

NBC will premiere new drama "Friday Night Lights" and freshman comedy "30 Rock" on its Web site a week before their October debuts on the network. The shows, supported with pre-roll ads from AT&T, will be streamed on NBC.com's fledgling micro-site, NBCFirstLook.com.

This week, in addition to the two shows streamed in their entirety, the site will also offer the first portion of the season openers of four returning shows, "My Name is Earl" and the three "Law & Order" franchises. Those four debut on-air next week.

The Web will also showcase the first 19 minutes of "The Biggest Loser," which hits the airwaves next week.

In May, NBC said it would use First Look to premiere as many as four shows a year in their entirety, leaving two slots open for mid-season shows.

The streaming has the potential to rankle some network affiliates. AOL will premiere "Studio 60 on the Sunset" and comedy "Twenty Good Years," while new drama "Heroes" will appear on Yahoo before their on-air debuts. Traditionally, local stations have had first dibs on highly anticipated premieres. Web availability could cost them viewers, ratings and revenues.



In order to placate affiliates, Fox and CBS have cut deals with them, giving a piece of ad and subscription dollars from offline distribution. But NBC and ABC have yet to reach agreements. Yesterday, Marci Burdick, chairman of the NBC affiliate board, said discussions with the network are continuing, but a deal isn't imminent. Burdick said, however, she doesn't feel Web-casts have "negatively affected our audience."

NBC Universal Television Group President-COO Randy Falco said that affiliates are "perfectly fine with what we're doing," and understand that innovation is necessary to prosper in an ever-evolving media world.

Burdick and Falco made their comments at an NBC event to announce the launch of the National Broadband Company, a new video distribution market that's partly owned by the NBC affiliate body.

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