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NBC's 'Heroes' pilot free on iTunes

Network drama is one of several shows that will be available for preview before broadcast premieres.

NBC has announced that the pilot episode of its new adventure drama, "Heroes," will be available as a free download from Apple Computer's iTunes store beginning Sept. 1, more than three weeks before its Sept. 25 network premiere. The free iTunes download will include several commercials from its chief sponsor, Nissan Motor. "Heroes," which features a large ensemble cast like that of ABC's "Lost," concerns the lives of a group of people who discover that they have superhuman powers.

NBC, which already offers existing programs such as "Law & Order" and "Fear Factor" for purchase on iTunes, has been publicizing several other new shows through previews on less traditional forms of media. Last month, the network announced that the premiere episodes of two other dramas, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and "Kidnapped," would be available through Netflix in the six weeks before their broadcast debuts.