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‘New Girl’ scored on new platforms too

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The fall TV season is just a couple days old and Fox brass are already popping the Champagne over the strong opening numbers for its new comedy ‘New Girl,’ starring Zooey Deschanel.

‘New Girl’ drew just over 10 million viewers and a strong 4.7 rating in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic. What makes the numbers more interesting is that Fox’s gamble of offering the first episode of ‘New Girl’ free on various platforms a few weeks before the premiere seems to have helped build buzz for the show.

More than 2 million people watched the pilot for ‘New Girl’ on video-on-demand, iTunes, Hulu and other sites including Deschanel’s hellogiggles.com before Tuesday’s premiere. The show was available from Sept. 1 until Sept. 19.

The episode that aired on digital outlets did so without commercials but did have promotions for Fox. Despite the success, the network is not planning on putting the second episode of ‘New Girl’ online before it airs on Fox next week.

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Putting a show online before it airs on the network is not without risk. If the buzz is bad, that could hurt the promotional effort behind the broadcast premiere. From a business standpoint, if the digital audience is seen as having taken viewers away from the broadcast premiere, the network’s affiliates and advertisers will not be happy.

-- Joe Flint

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