NBC is doing everything within its mortal, corporate powers to make sure that potential viewers know about the new series "Heroes."
The network is launching a big promotional push for the drama, about a group of people who realize they have extraordinary powers, that includes a free download of the premiere episode on iTunes -- before it airs on television -- a sponsorship deal that will limit ads during the first broadcast and "Heroes"-related promos at several movie-theater chains.
"We have an unusual opportunity to team with several excellent corporate partners to let moviegoers be the first to experience this daring new series with its own theatrical feel to it," says John Miller, NBC's chief marketing officer. "We want to generate buzz across a variety of platforms long before 'Heroes' ever airs on NBC."
Users of iTunes will be able to download the first episode of "Heroes" for free starting Sept. 1 -- 24 days before the show debuts on television. The network will offer behind-the-scenes extras from the show for download as well.
Starting next month, "Heroes" will be all over lobby TV monitors, popcorn bags and promotional cards in several theater chains. Some theaters will also show a 2 1/2-minute trailer for the series.
When the show finally does make it to the air, Nissan will sponsor the premiere, which will allow for fewer commercial breaks than usual. The "Heroes" pilot runs about 52 minutes, significantly longer than the 42 to 44 minutes typical for hour-long shows.
"Heroes" was created by Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan") and stars , Milo Ventimiglia ("Gilmore Girls"), Ali Larter ("Final Destination"), Hayden Panettiere ("The Book of Daniel") and Adrian Pasdar ("Desperate Housewives"), among others.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times