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‘Class’ to air on Net first

Warner Bros. to offer Webcasts

Warner Bros. TV is giving auds a chance to watch an upcoming episode of CBS’ “The Class” on the Internet — even before the episode’s actually been taped.

In what appears to be a TV industry first, studio will offer live Webcasts of next week’s table read and rehearsal for the Feb. 19 episode of the frosh CBS laffer. Table read will take place Monday at 11 a.m. PT, while the full-cast run-through is set for Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT.

Streaming video of both events will be offered via CBS.com. Auds will be able to watch an archived version of the event if they miss the live Webcast.

For the past year or so, studios and nets have been offering downloads and streaming video of some shows before the episodes aired. WBTV is going a step further by letting auds see how the sausage, er, skein is made.

Stunt was the brainchild of “The Class” creator Jeffrey Klarik.

“Before I got into the business, I was so curious about how everything was done,” he said. “When I were younger, if I had been given a chance to see ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ do a table read and rehearsal live, that would’ve been neat. I think some people are really interested in how TV works.”

Crane said he doesn’t think the Webcast will have a major impact on the rehearsal process. “We’re just gonna have the cameras there and try to ignore them,” he said.

On the other hand, their presence means behind-the-scenes folks like Klarik and Crane will be on camera.

“I’m actually in makeup right now getting ready,” Klarik quipped.

Two-day stunt is designed to drum up interest for “The Class,” which has been doing decent but not blockbuster ratings on Mondays.

A communications glitch between CBS and WBTV appeared to put the project on hold for about 24 hours this week. Issues were quickly resolved, however, and both parties confirmed the plan Thursday.

Meanwhile, Klarik and Crane continue to refine “The Class” in pursuit of a second-season order. One change: Regular cast member Lucy Punch has ankled the skein. Her last episode aired Monday.

Producers had decided to reduce her role in order to focus on a smaller number of characters. She instead chose to leave completely.

“We adore Lucy, but we’ve been trying to consolidate the characters on the show,” Crane said. “We already miss her.”

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