NBC Airs '30 Rock' New Season Online First

NBC's 30 RockFans of NBC's "30 Rock," or prospective ones intrigued by Tina Fey's send-up of Sarah Palin, can get a look at the show's season premiere a week early. NBC is making the full episode available on NBC.com next week--seven days before its on-air takeoff.

The debut will be streamed on the site starting Oct. 23, as well as on sister site Hulu.com, before it launches on the network on Oct. 30 (Thursday) at 9:30 p.m. NBC said Monday that Salma Hayek will become a recurring guest star on the show as a love interest of Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghy.

The comedy has been sort of a "big-niche" hit over the last two years--but may get added kick, thanks to the sensation of Tina Fey's Palin impersonations on "Saturday Night Live." (They also gave the show a boost in ratings.)

It's unclear whether the special advance screening will have a dedicated sponsor or NBC.com and Hulu.com will simply run pre- and mid-rolls from current advertisers. "30 Rock" is entering its third season, and episodes from season two are available on both sites.



NBC is banking on "The Office" at 9 p.m. delivering viewers to "30 Rock," which follows. For the first two "Office" episodes this season, "live-plus-same-day" ratings in the 18-to-49 demo grew slightly from episode one (which was a full hour) to two.

"The Office," however, loses some potential pop as a lead-in because it is one of television's most-watched shows in delayed fashion, via DVRs. The first episode this season posted a viewership gain of 18% when comparing with the "live-plus-same-day" 18-to-49 rating (4.9)--the go-forward figure for "live-plus-seven-day" is 5.8.

Last year, "30 Rock" at 9:30 p.m. followed "The Office" three times and retained on average 69% of its audience in the 18-to-49 demo.

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