The videos, created by "Scrubs" writer-producer Bill Lawrence, follow two young TV addicts who are given the opportunity to make their own sitcom and then are manipulated by a network. The series even features a network TV executive character named "Jeff Tucker" -- a nod to Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal Television Group,
NBC, YouTube partnership
NBC completed a partnership with YouTube that involves NBC advertising on the site and creating its own channel to promote new shows. The pilot, originally made for the WB in 2005, was all but forgotten until it appeared on the video website a few weeks ago. Since then, it's been downloaded 600,000 times.
"I have always been passionate about this project, but more importantly, I think this is just the first of many TV shows to be rescued by the internet," Mr. Lawrence said in a statement. "I think we will see more launched on the internet in the future. We plan to start rolling out viral content as early as September."
NBC's entertainment president, Kevin Reilly, has ordered scripts to be developed and said he is "intrigued by its potential to develop into a series."
Another beneficiary of the YouTube exposure is Snapple, which has a very obvious product placement smack in the middle of the second video.
Other promotional plans
Mr. Reilly, appearing at the Television Critics Tour in California this morning, revealed other promotional plans the network has formed to bring more viewers to its new shows.
"Sunday Night Football" debuts with preseason games Aug. 6, and coverage of the National Football League's season starts Sept. 7. NBC kicks off new fall programming Sept. 18 with a two-hour "Deal or No Deal" special, followed by NBC's most promising series entrant, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." "Deal" will air four nights at the start of the season to help aid two other new debuts, "Kidnapped" and "Heroes," while other new offerings will be held back until October. NBC will then roll out "Friday Night Lights," "20 Good Years," starring John Lithgow, and Tina Fey's "30 Rock."