Showtime packs Unbox

'Sleeper,' other series to be offered on

Showtime has engineered a pay TV first, making all eight hours in the second season of “Sleeper Cell: American Terror” available to Showtime On Demand on Dec. 10 — the same night that the first two hours premiere on the main network.

“Sleeper Cell” will also be one of a number of series Showtime will offer on’s digital-video service Unbox. Other series include “The L Word,” “Weeds,” “Fat Actress” and “Penn & Teller: Bullshit,” each episode of which will cost $1.99. Showtime is the first pay TV network to do an Unbox deal.

Showtime’s goal is to use to make nonsubscribers aware of shows that may be worth a monthly subscription to see.

Following its Dec. 10 premiere on Showtime, “Sleeper Cell” will play like a saturation miniseries, scheduled each subsequent night in two-hour blocks through Dec. 13.

Showtime slotted the 10 hours of last year’s first cycle of “Sleeper Cell” in 60-minute episodes nightly over two weeks (Dec. 4-7 and Dec. 11-14), culminating in a two-hour finale on Dec. 18. Although well received by the critics, the show averaged a disappointing 227,000 total viewers.

To promote the Showtime/Unbox arrangement, Amazon will also offer the first episode of the new series “Dexter” for 1¢ until Wednesday.

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