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Netflix to offer sneak previews of NBC shows

Six weeks before premieres on TV, promotion could lead to advance buzz...or early bad press.

NBC has partnered with online DVD rental service Netflix on a promotional campaign for its fall lineup that will make the inaugural episodes of two new NBC programs, entertainment-industry drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and serial thriller "Kidnapped," available through Netflix six weeks before their broadcast premieres. As with any selection offered by Netflix, subscribers can add the DVD of the two shows to their "queues" and wait for it to ship when it becomes available. The promotion, which will be touted in NBC network spots and Netflix advertisements, will run from Aug. 5 through Sept. 17.

But it's a gamble for NBC. While giving viewers access to the new shows that far in advance could build positive buzz, it could also lead to bad reviews six weeks before the programs have even debuted on TV.