Web-savvy viewers routinely catch up with missed TV episodes online, but networks are split on screening them before their premiere.
For the third year, NBC plans an aggressive campaign to make new series widely available a week before their premieres.
Knight Rider, Kath & Kim, Crusoe and My Own Worst Enemy, along with several second-year shows, will be everywhere: NBC's website, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon's UnBox, Microsoft's Xbox Live and Zune, as well as on-demand from TV providers such as Comcast, Cox, Charter, Dish and Verizon Fios. Knight Rider and Lipstick Jungle, due Sept. 24, are available today.
NBC's strategy is at odds with that of most other networks, which plan far more selective treatment. It's unclear whether such peeks help, hurt or have no effect on a show's chances. Early screenings can build positive word of mouth and create awareness, but they also can spread bad buzz faster.
"We want to make (programs) available in as many ways as we can so we can get fans," says marketing chief John Miller. "If you don't embrace people's behavior, you can be lost by it."