This was noted earlier this week in Mediapost. It appears that flush with the success of all-things-Tina-Fey, NBC is hoping to finally get some attention for brilliant comedy 30 Rock by premiering the new season on NBC.com and Hulu.com a week before it airs live on October 30th.
First, it’s an amazing show and Fey has taken her career to all sorts of new heights with her I’m-normal-but-everyone-else-is-nuts persona. But it’s a show that doesn’t get the ratings it deserves, largely because its popular lead-in, The Office, doesn’t either since a boatload of its viewers watch in via DVR, so there’s no lead-in audience for 30 Rock.
Premiering a series online isn’t that new, either. It was common this season and will be the norm in the coming seasons. But it does emphasize how dependent networks are becoming on the Web to cultivate and keep an audience. As long as ratings stay relatively stable, that’s fine, but once people start abandoning linear programming in droves, there will be some network execs who have gone along with it who will shriek.