Whitney, the new series joining NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup in the fall, is going to be available on video on demand a week before it airs on the network, Broadcasting & Cable has learned.
The move is designed to create buzz for the show, a key part of the fourth-place network's efforts to improve its primetime schedule. Whitney will be available on VOD beginning Sept. 15. It premieres on NBC Sept. 22.
NBC, in the process of revamping its marketing staff after hiring Len Fogge away from Showtime, declined to comment on the promotional tactic, which while unusual, isn't completely unprecedented.
NBC streamed the pilot for Heroes on Yahoo before it was broadcast in 2006. It also previewed the pilot to Community on Facebook in 2009.
Cable networks have used VOD to preview new series. BBC America had the pilot of its new series The Hour available on VOD and for free on iTunes before it aired on the channel last week.
Whitney is produced by NBCU's Universal Media Studio, giving NBC some flexibility in how it uses the content for promotion. NBCU is controlled by Comcast, which is the largest cable operator and has been an early and enthusiastic supporter of free VOD.
Whitney stars comedienne Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia, as a happy couple in no rush to get married. It will air Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.