Yahoo! to Get Fat with Showtime

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Yahoo! Inc. (www.yahoo.com) will stream the debut episode of Showtime’s Fat Actress simultaneously with the series’ premiere on the premium network, the two companies said Wednesday.

Fat Actress, a comedy series created by and starring Kirstie Alley, will debut Monday, March 7 at 10 p.m. (EST).

The Internet company’s Yahoo! TV area will also host Fat Actress features including video clips, photos, upcoming episode information and a link to the series’ Web site (www.sho.com/site/fatactress/home.do) on Showtime’s SHO.com (www.sho.com).

The episode will be available for streaming via Yahoo! until March 12.

Showtimeexecutive vice president Mark Greenberg said the Yahoo! TV deal will expose non-Showtime subscribers to the series with the hopes that they will eventually turn into Showtime subscribers.

The network, however, does not have any plans to air future Fat Actress episodes via the Internet.

“It’s a great opportunity to gain some promotion and publicity,” Greenberg said. “There are 120 million hits on the Yahoo! home page every day, so it’s an opportunity to promote the show and expand our universe.”

Yahoo! Entertainment general manager Doug Hirsch added, “We could not be more pleased to be associated with Showtime's high-quality programming, and we are delighted to give our users the ability to be one of the first to check out this much-discussed new show.”

Other cable networks streaming original content via the Internet include Bravo, which simulcast the West Coast feed of an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Girl on America Online Inc. Jan. 11; and SOAPnet, which repurposed episodes from its series I Wanna Be a Soap Star via AOL last October.

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