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"ER" premiere hyped online

One thing Hollywood is sure to be wondering this weekend is whether Webcasting, as they say, has legs.

    One thing Hollywood is sure to be wondering this weekend is whether Webcasting, as they say, has legs.

    The live Webcast and chat surrounding the season premiere of NBC's top rated drama, ER, attracted Netizens in record numbers, Warner Bros. Online and NBC announced today.

    The ERLive.com project on the Net attracted nearly 2 million page views of chat, trivia games, and 3D set tours. Users received more than 60,000 ERLive.com streaming video feeds related to the show's premiere, and users logged 293,950 chat minutes while watching the video feeds.

    NBC took advantage of all of its media outlets in publicizing this premiere. Last night's Webcast is the latest example of the convergence between television and personal computers, still in its infancy and to many critics representative more of style than substance.

    The network used Astrovision, its large-screen Times Square television screen, to promote the cybercast, and links from the NBC, Warner Bros., and Talk City sites also have been set up in an effort to funnel additional traffic to the site.

    Mary Devincenzi, a spokeswoman for Talk City, believes this is the first time the Net has been used so extensively to hype a television program.

    "Bringing it [TV] to the Internet is very new," Devincenzi said. "We think it will be huge."

    The phenomenon is not limited to TV dramas. Sports events, such as this weekend's pennant race with the San Francisco Giants baseball team, will also be updated regularly on the Giants' Web site. Fans can follow scores and receive audio clips as well as game rosters.