Starz will debut the premiere episode of new drama “Outlander” one week before its official airdate with a multiplatform preview, CEO Chris Albrecht announced Friday at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour.

The cabler will give approximately 82 million multichannel video households free access to the premiere episode, “Sassenach,” beginning August 2. Viewers will be able to watch the first episode via linear, on-demand and online sampling, through cable, satellite and telco affiliates in the U.S., and online through Starz.com’s Outlander page, the official “Outlander” Twitter page, Starz’s YouTube and Facebook pages and the Starz Play app. The show will have its worldwide TV premiere on Aug. 9 at 9 p.m.

“We’ve heard from fans the world over who are anxiously awaiting to see how we’ve brought Claire and Jamie to life in what may possibly be the most highly anticipated series in Starz history,” Albrecht said in a statement. “Our ‘Outlander’ sampling strategy serves the dual purpose of giving early access to the series premiere for those fans thirsting to watch it as soon as possible, as well as providing a vehicle that introduces the Starz experience to prospective new subscribers who are eager to learn all about this great new series.”

“Outlander’s” first eight episodes will air over eight consecutive Saturdays from through Sept. 27, with the second half of the 16-episode season returning early next year.

For fans who can’t wait for Aug. 2, Starz recently launched the “Outlander” Community microsite, which offers exclusive show content and aggregates the latest “Outlander” news from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and fan blogs, providing a social hub for fans to interact and discuss the series.

The show follows married World War II combat nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Upon her arrival, she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened and her loyalties are tested by Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior. Soon, Claire’s heart is torn between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

“Outlander” is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television. The series was adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-seller of the same name. Ronald D. Moore serves as executive producer.