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ABC puts more shows on the Net

Free ad-supported episodes return in expanded form, supplemented by iTunes giveaways of last season's finales.

ABC announced Thursday that its free Internet TV service will be returning for the 2006 fall season. In a two-month test last spring, the Disney-owned broadcaster made several of its hit shows in a free, ad-supported form over the Internet. The broadband player at ABC's Web site will feature new episodes of "Lost," "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" a day after their broadcast airings, as well as episodes from new programs such as "Ugly Betty." It's expected that viewers will have access to four episodes of each series at a time.

In addition, ABC has begun a partnership with Apple Computer to include shows on iTunes. One million downloads of last spring's season finales of "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" are available free of charge through the iTunes Store until Oct. 4. Downloaders can only choose one of the three.