NBC has made an ambitious deal, apparently the first of its kind, to buy a two-hour -- or perhaps even three-hour -- block of prime-time programming from outside producers, including Thom Beers, the creator of adventure documentary series like "Deadliest Catch" and "Ice Road Truckers."
Under the plan, NBC has agreed to broadcast at least two new hours produced by Mr. Beers back to back on a single night, with many more hours possible. The terms guarantee Mr. Beers and his partners 30 hours of programs on NBC -- three separate 10-episode series.