Fox's 'New Girl' is first broadcast series to get iTunes premiere
Add this to the tangled history of TV shows on the Web: Zooey Deschanel's upcoming Fox sitcom "New Girl" is available for free right now on iTunes -- the first time the debut of a broadcast series has been offered online before its official premiere.
Networks already use iTunes to help peddle new wares, but that mostly involves two- or three-minute sneak peeks of fall series such as "Free Agents" and "Terra Nova." Putting an entire episode online before the premiere is a step executives have feared taking, due to fears of lowered viewing on opening night.
But for "New Girl," which won't air until Sept. 20, Fox is betting that building word of mouth among the show's target 20-something audience is more important than the early Nielsen numbers. That could make this an important trial balloon for future network marketing efforts.
"New Girl" operates as a kind of reverse-gender "Three's Company." Deschanel plays Jessica Day, a woman who moves in with three single guys. Hmm.
As of this writing, the pilot already has 31 ratings on iTunes. Will you check out "New Girl" now on iTunes, or just wait for the premiere to air?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield in Fox's "New Girl." Credit: Autumn DeWilde/Fox.