It looks like NBC U really does believe some of its hype about the Web not detracting from TV. To wit: the network is putting five shows on Hulu.com a week before they air on broadcast TV to build buzz for their premieres.
This isn’t too big a gamble: three of the shows — Lipstick Jungle, Chuck and Life — are struggling second-year shows lucky to be back on the air in any form this year. The fourth, Knight Rider, is a new show that dearly needs any kind of buzz NBC can generate. The fifth, 30 Rock, isn’t coming back until the end of October, and NBC will need all the promotion it can get to remind its fans it still exists.
It’s unlikely Hulu will have these shows exclusively for the week — NBC will no doubt also air these on NBC.com. And it’s not really unprecedented: NBC.com has been airing exclusive Webisodes of The Office this summer. But it is a coup for Hulu, which has a bigger audience than NBC.com, and for the first time gets some new network TV that hasn’t yet appeared… on TV.
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