NEW YORK The CW network is close to a deal with MSN to stream the first episodes of several of its prime-time series on the portal sometime between now and the start of the upcoming TV season, Mediaweek has learned.
While the agreement has not been signed and the list of shows is currently in flux, sources familiar with the negotiations said that returning series America's Next Top Model, Everybody Hates Chris and Supernatural, along with the new drama Runaway, are candidates to make their fall debuts on the Web, roughly one week prior to their various on-air premieres.
This would be the first Web streaming pact for the newly formed CW network, although several former series on the WB and UPN networks (which were merged to form CW) had previously employed this tactic.
Last fall, the pilot episode of Everybody Hates Chris was streamed on Google Video before its first TV appearance, while Yahoo did the same for the first episode of Supernatural.
Executives from MSN were not immediately available for comment, and CW officials declined to discuss the deal.