NBC U Gives "First Look" at New Digital Offerings

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NBC Universal made several announcements corresponding to its “TV 360” upfront posturing Monday, unveiling plans for several new broadband sites and giving details of its plans for newly acquired site iVillage.

NBC Universal will launch “first look” Web sites around each of its TV networks’ online presence. The sites – Nbcfirstlook.com, Usafirstlook.com, Scififirstlook.com, etc. – will premiere at least four full episodes of their corresponding networks’ series each year, putting the episodes on the Web before they run on TV.

NBC will also launch a new broadband comedy channel, dotcomedy.com. The site will feature comedic content from NBC’s current programs and its library. Shows to be featured encompass current programs including SNL, The Tonight Show, Late Night With Conan O’Brien and The Office,as well as old series including Coach, Leave It To Beaver and The Munsters. The site will also house original podcasts, blogs and other content.

The company said today it completed its acquisition of online community iVillage, which it bought in March for $600 million, and unveiled some of the ways the site will work in tandem with NBC properties. The Today show, for example, will offer once monthly makeovers to iVillage users through a “Makeover Central” area of the site, which launches Tuesday.

iVillage, with the NBC U O&Os, will launch an hour-long program iVillage Live, filmed at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. The show, advice about women’s issues, will air on the O&Os and be streamed on the site. The site will also pair with Access Hollywood on “Access Hollywood Celebrity Horoscopes,” which will be streamed on AccessHollywood.com and iVillage-owned Astrology.com and run as weekly segments on Access Hollywood.

Finally, each NBC U Web site will launch new media players with Flash-based technology and offer advertisers ads across all of its sites – the NBC O&Os, cable networks USA, Sci Fi and Bravo, Access Hollywood and iVillage.

The company announced details of some of the digital components it will offer with shows for the 2006-07 schedule as well. They include 30 standalone Webisodes for The Office, a new interactive online detective game for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, an online animated comic book for new drama Heroes and a weekly online yearbook Webisode for Friday Night Lights. NBC will also run the fictional sketches from its new Tina Fey comedy 30 Rock online only.

Online elements tied to reality programming include a user-submitted video contest to be a suitcase model on Deal or No Deal, an online show featuring contestants who didn’t make the cut for The Biggest Loser and a text message game for Treasure Hunters.

Expanded digital coverage for late-night programming includes new Web sites for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live, each featuring some original content. The Tonight Show site will feature Jay’s Garage, for example, an online video series with Leno answering car questions from his garage, and the Late Night site will feature an animated series called Pale Force.

NBC Daytime will launch Passions Vendetta, online Webisodes tied to its soap Passions, as well as The Cove, a new online only soap focusing on characters from the show. The show will run as two five-minute Webisodes per week.

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