CBS To Launch Prime-Time Show On TiVo

The Class will debut on TiVo a week before its broadcast launch, a first for the industry.
CBS Television plans to show the new primetime program "The Class" on TiVo a week before its debut, the first time a major network has used the popular television service to launch a fall program.

In a separate announcement, TiVo said Thursday that subscribers of its TV service and broadband-enabled digital video recorder would be able to access CBS Sportsline Fantasy Football.

CBS plans to show "The Class" to TiVo subscribers for up to a week before its network premiere on Sept. 18. In addition, TiVo plans to offer sneak preview clips and exclusive footage on three more new shows on CBS's fall schedule: "Jericho," starring Skeet Ulrich and Gerald McRaney; "Smith," starring Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen; and "Shark," starring James Woods and Jeri Ryan.

CBS is hoping TiVo, which claims to have 4.4 million subscribers, will "generate buzz" for the new show.

"CBS's partnership with TiVo is a creative new way to use DVR technology to help drive television network viewing," George Schweitzer, president of CBS marketing, said in a statement.

In the Sportsline announcement, TiVo customers who are also registered users of CBS's online fantasy football would be able to manage their leagues, check stats and scores, and watch highlights using their remote controls. CBS and TiVo are also jointly creating interactive sports programming.

TiVo in December rolled out a host of online services that subscribers could access through the company's broadband-enabled DVRs. The Alviso, Calif., company is rushing to merge TV and Internet services into an advertising platform that could help counter a predicted decline in DVR subscriptions.

TiVo, was the first to market with a DVR and dominates the market. That, however, is expected to change as cable operators and telephone companies deliver DVR capabilities in their own set-top boxes, experts say.