In what appears to be a coordinated action, HD-quality pilots for at least four upcoming 2015-16 season TV shows — Fox’s “Minority Report” and “Lucifer,” and NBC’s “Blindspot” and “The Carmichael Show” — popped up on Internet piracy sites early Monday weeks before their scheduled TV premieres.
The pirated copies appeared on torrent websites at about 2 a.m. ET Monday, according to antipiracy analytics firm Excipio.
As of 12 noon ET, “Lucifer” had been accessed by 141,498 torrent clients across the globe, while the pilot for “Minority Report” (pictured above) was at 111,269 and “Blindspot” had hit 81,887, Excipio data shows. Figures for “The Carmichael Show” were not available at press time. The copies are authentic and bear no visible signs of digital watermarks, according to Excipio. [UPDATE, Aug. 10, 5:15 pm ET: Torrent clients that had downloaded the pilfered pilots were: “Lucifer,” 212,237; “Minority Report,” 163,946; “Blindspot,” 120,174; and “The Carmichael Show,” 8,411.]
It’s not clear how the pilots made their way into the wild, but in the past such early leaks have been ripped from preview DVD copies.
Fox has skedded “Minority Report,” based on Steven Spielberg’s 2002 movie starring Tom Cruise, for a Sept. 21 launch. That’s the same premiere date as NBC’s “Blindspot,” a thriller from Greg Berlanti. Fox plans to debut “Lucifer,” based on the DC Comics characters, as a midseason show in early 2016, and NBC has slated “The Carmichael Show,” a family comedy from Jerrod Carmichael and Nick Stoller, to bow Aug. 26.
“Minority Report” is co-produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Paramount Television; “Lucifer” and “Blindspot” are from Warner Bros. Television; and “Carmichael” is from 20th Century Fox TV and Universal Television.
The pirated pilot of “Minority Report,” it’s worth noting, may not be the final cut: Fox reshot an additional scene, and the studio hasn’t externally released the full version of the episode at this point.
Leaks of TV show episodes prior to their airing on television have been rare. This past April, the first four installments of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” season 5 showed up on torrent-sharing sites a day prior to the season premiere. After the leak of “GoT” — with the dubious distinction of being the most-pirated TV show online — the premium cabler said it would shift to streaming-only releases of review screeners instead of distributing DVD copies.
In May, the pilot of CBS’s “Supergirl” began circulating on pirate sites, more than five months before its slotted Oct. 26 premiere on the Eye.