ABC is streaming pilots for its three new fall comedies — “The Goldbergs,” “Trophy Wife” and “Back in the Game” — via WatchABC.com, the Watch ABC mobile app and Hulu three weeks ahead of their broadcast debut, an increasingly common tactic by TV programmers hoping to build audiences.
The three pilots are available on the Watch ABC services and Hulu now through Sept. 17. They may also become available on cable VOD services, but ABC has not locked down deals yet.
According to a Hulu rep, additional fall 2013 pilots are skedded to be available in advance of air on the service but launch plans are still being finalized.
“The Goldbergs” (cast pictured above) premieres on ABC on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 9 p.m. Set in the 1980s, laffer centers on nerdy 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone), an aspiring director who captures the antics of his family on video. Ensemble cast includes Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, Hayley Orrantia, Troy Gentile and George Segal as the clan’s grandfather-cum-Don Juan.
“Trophy Wife” (premiering Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m.) features reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman), who becomes the third wife of slightly older Pete (Bradley Whitford). Cast also includes Marcia Gay Harden, Bailee Madison, Ryan Scott Lee and Natalie Morales.
“Back in the Game” (premiering Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m.) revolves around single mom Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson), a former all-star softball player who, with her son, moves back in with her estranged, beer-guzzling father, Terry Sr., aka “the Cannon” (James Caan).
Broadcasters and cablers alike have used online sampling to build hype ahead of TV airdates for years. For example, networks have been launching shows on Hulu prior to broadcast debut since fall 2011, starting with with Fox’s preview of “The New Girl.” Other shows previewed on the service include NBC’s “Smash,” ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B—– in Apartment 23” and Fox’s “The Mindy Project.”
The Watch ABC service currently delivers on-demand access to full episodes of ABC’s daytime and primetime programming nationwide, free to any users.
This May, the Alphabet net became the first broadcast network to offer live streams of local ABC feeds through Watch ABC, available to subscribers of participating pay-TV providers in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Houston. ABC has deals with Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse for the authenticated live TV.