Newer Girl: Fox Puts Show Online for Free Two Weeks Before Its TV Debut

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Zooey Deschanel fans, today is your lucky day: Fox has released the first episode of the actress’ new sitcom, New Girl, online for free, a full two weeks before the show debuts on television.

The episode, which debuts on September 20th, has been released on iTunes this morning, where it will remain for free until the day of its television airing; the episode will also be made available for free streaming on Fox.com and Hulu on September 13th, then disappearing on September 20th, as well as making an appearance on Hello Giggles, the group blog that Deschanel writes for. After September 20th, the show will vanish from the Internet—well, officially—until September 28th for everyone apart from Hulu Plus members.

(MORE: Plenty of Chances to Meet Fox’s New Girl)

Although releasing free clips of shows on iTunes has become commonplace promotional tactics in recent years, this is only the second time an entire episode has been released for free before its official onscreen debut—it’s worth mentioning that New Girlhas unofficially aired in certain markets as a special preview—and Fox was behind the idea last time, as well.

That said, the network’s experience with Lone Star—the show that was given this treatment last year—doesn’t exactly provide a promising picture of what lies ahead (that series was cancelled after only two episodes for low ratings). Despite critical praise, the audience for Lone Star‘s first episode (the episode released online ahead of time) was described as “so bad that there was no silver lining to find on this mushroom cloud.”

Here’s hoping that Deschanel’s charm offensive is more successful.

[via Tuned In]

MORE: Shocker: Piracy Rises After Fox Delays Hulu Shows

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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