Top Fall Pilots Leaked Online

At least half a dozen highly anticipated broadcast network fall pilots have been leaked online.

Copies of NBC’s “Bionic Woman,” ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” The CW’s “Reaper” and several other shows were available Friday for illegal download via sites such as Torrent Spy, The Pirate Bay and Mininova.

Most of the titles appear to have been uploaded within the past week. The first copy of “Bionic” was listed as uploaded two days ago, while the earliest “Reaper” file was date-marked seven days ago. Other leaked shows include Fox’s midseason “The Terminator” spin-off “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” ABC’s “Cavemen,” and NBC’s “Chuck” and “Lipstick Jungle.”

Network representatives expressed surprise that the full-length pilots were on the Web and alerted their studio partners. Some said they were anticipating that critic and industry screener copies would leak eventually as smattering of fall pilots have found their way online during the past few years. All networks contacted declined official comment.

TelevisionWeek downloaded and confirmed the content of several pilot files. The videos were of reasonably high quality, akin to the streaming programs on broadcast network Web sites.

“This baby is real and nice quality,” one user posted about "Connor" on Pirate Bay. “Wish I could say more about the content, but there is potential.”

Another user wrote, “A lot better than I'd expected … a bit weird though -- this isn't supposed to air until 2008.”

Most of the leaked shows are among the more anticipated, buzz-heavy titles of the fall (there are many copies of “Bionic” and “Connor” online, for example, but no copies of ABC’s “Carpoolers” or The CW’s “Life is Wild” were found). Given the selection, some downloaders wondered if the networks and studios leaked the programs themselves. Network and studio representatives, however, denied uploading the shows.

“We’re doing everything we can to fight piracy,” said one major studio representative who declined to be identified. “Our piracy department is playing whack-a-mole with these things.”

In recent years, some networks have begun to distribute premiere episodes online in advance of their debuts. Such promotional previews are often carefully timed to hit right before the regular broadcast of the show. Also, network previews are typically streamed via the network’s own Web site, or through other controlled environments such as popular portal and business partners like AOL or MSN.

The copies found online so far will probably be joined by lower-quality versions soon, according to one studio representative who was attending the Comic-Con convention in San Diego. Networks at the comic book convention are currently screening several popular pilots. Judging by the number of handheld video recorders in the audience, the executive said he expected to see more unauthorized copies of network shows online.

For TVWeek’s coverage of critic reactions to network presentations of “Bionic,” “Daisies,” “Reaper,” “Cavemen” and other fall shows at last week's Television Critics Association press tour, go here.

(Editor: Baumann)

Comments (40)

"TelevisionWeek downloaded and confirmed the content of several pilot files."

Congratulations, you just implicated your company in a crime. Is it somehow ok to commit crimes yourself when reporting on them? Since you just provided evidence that you and TV Week knew what they were doing, that ups it to willful copyright infringement for you. That's $150,000 per pilot.

Are you people really that stupid?

purple pumpkin:

Oh, please! These "leaks" are done by the show creators to get advance advertising. Oldest trick in the book.

Gretchen Woodall:

Duh, they had to download them. Otherwise how would they know if they were real or not? The trade papers get copies of all the shows anyway.


It would seem that the TV industry is missing out on a goldmine! Instead of inflicting us with lame programs they simply could POST the pilots themselves and let the viewers decide if they want to see those pilots become series. Sweet and simple. While the networks would have final word "We The Viewers" would finally have a say as to what WE want to see on TV.


Oh God no!! Someone help these poor companies, who are having more people view their content than they would have had it not been available online. Those damn pirates are doing great evil again!

Steve Andrews:

Hey congratulations. You've managed to "break" a story that I read somewhere else on Thursday.


Moe G.:

The networks want and need some buzz on their pilots -- anything more likely to make people aware and watch. Maybe they didn't do it in this case, but I would if I were them.

Personally, as someone who works online (and got rid of his tv long ago), I am finished with watching prime time shows as they broadcast. To stick to their schedule is one thing, but we need lives too.

I do what I need to do when it comes to finding and downloading the shows so that I can watch them online at my convenience. I don't consider this piracy, as the programming is free to begin with. Offering streams it with their ads is probably the smartest thing the network can do, since it is the only way for an advertiser to reach people like me.

The funniest show on network TV, 30 Rock....I caught every single episode online last season - thankfully the network was thinking to put it there. They had to in order to build an audience, but at least their online ads reached me.

I should mention that two funny shows that weren't given much of a chance had their entire run online at the time of their broadcast - The Winner and Andy Barker, P.I. Not pirated stuff, but the networks knew that they had to try to create some buzz. I don't know if it was the proper strategy, as I imagine it had to affect the broadcast ratings.

I even paid on Itunes to subscribe to The Office and SNL (which is heavily edited). I wanted those asap.

Its not that I'm unwilling to sit through commercials. I just don't want to be bound by their schedules.


True, once a blog nobody has heard of says something, there's no point in anybody writing about it after that.

Anyhoo, I was at ComicCon and saw the pilots with an audience so there's no point in downloading them. Bionic Woman sucked. Reaper was MUCH better than I expected.


So good, the more this happens, the less these Hollywood brats will be paid. $25 million per movie...300,000 per episode...

What $5 million a movie isn't enough?
50,000 per episode not enough

Technology is finally providing payback time


what's a television? people still have those? With www who needs them:)

Calvin Hobbes:

Studio's seem to be taking the same path the idiots the video and music industry have. Sue the people who they think downloaded material without proof. They need to learn security was broken on their end, not the people on the Internet. Implement correct security at the studios using real professsionals, not idiots charging money to call it security and this problem will go away. Once it hits electronic data, it's all free and unstoppable. If studios start chasing the people on the Internet they will start the road to bankruptcy. If they start suing just wait a few years until the countersuits start appearing by people they've sued who eventually have money, they will countersue out of vengence, god knows I would. It's all unprovable who really was on the other end of the Internet link which downloaded something, if anyone is accused I suggest the very first thing they always do is say nothing and admit nothing even if they get an attorney. Then whatever settlement happens make sure that no admission is ever part of it. That way you can always come back and sue these bullies out of everything they have and own. If I was listening to a Civil suit with these big shot snots on one side and someone countersuing them, I would make it a point to side with the little person countersuing and reward them big time.

alan smithee:

they actually don't want them leaked because these are the shows they're banking on. they've already invested tons of money in the first several episodes and if word gets out that they're stinkers, advertisers will disappear, drying up $$ for the networks. it's the mid-season replacements that they are more likely to leak...those are a bigger gamble anyway and are more likely to need a buzz.

--alan smithee

Media Theorist:

>>Steve Andrews:
>>Hey congratulations. You've managed to "break" a >>story that I read somewhere else on Thursday

That doesn't matter in the least, and you know it. What matters is what Drudge links to. There have been businesses built solely on the fact that Drudge will link to them.


Who cares?

Moe G.:

re: Jeff >Who cares?

people who read tvweek care, and you cared enough to click here.

Jack Tanksley:

Arrrgghhhh matey! Want to see Obama's acceptance speech for his party's nomination?

kevin from duluth:

These episodes were released by the networks...They realize that network television is going into the toilet fast and they are trying to create some buzz for these garbage shows.......The networks only have a year or two left...CBS has even admitted that they are looking at going to cable only...RIP CBS, NBC, ABC, et al.

Tim from Arkansas:

It should be noted that none of those files are available for download on TPB, Torrent Spy, or Mininova, as the article claims. Those sites are tracker sites that offer an index of current torrents. They host torrent files, which if downloaded will allow you to connect to a P2P network and download the file. It is not a trivial distinction.


The amount of distinction is debateable. It's a two step process to get a torrent file and they're both necessary. Music companies went after P2P sites even though the sites didn't house the files, just provided the means of getting the files from other users.


>>Steve Andrews:
>>Hey congratulations. You've managed to "break" a >>story that I read somewhere else on Thursday

>>>That doesn't matter in the least, and you know it. What matters is what Drudge links to. There have been businesses built solely on the fact that Drudge will link to them.

Yeah, well, I have give TV Week props for making this sound like something new. Sending out a "breaking news" email on this was genius, I must admit.

I notice they also removed the link to the original story in the comments above.

Of course, they might be better off simply hiring someone who could actually break news like this in the first place.


BTW, here's the link:

(until it's removed again)


Duh.. why is it only pilots, not returning shows, like Lost or ER?

This is a marketing stunt, and it will back fire because they are getting a very limited sample - geeks who download stuff - and who are very critical by nature... not a good idea networks.


I'm not positive, but I think the returning shows just started production recently while the pilots were all shot back at the start of the year.


I think the fact that it's generally only the pilots that surface online indicates the leaks are probably coming from the networks and/or studios.

Critics get tons of screeners of returning shows and individual episodes throughout the season, and it's instructive that the only things that hit online are these pilots.

For that matter, pilots of things such as the new TNT shows didn't surface early, either.

Let's see. Why is broadcast TV going down the tubes (uh, pun intended). It's not because someone "leaked" their fall line up onto the internet.

It is the shows themselves...

Bionic - a remake of a cheesy 30 year old T.V. show - which was itself a spin off of an even cheesier 30 year old TV show.

Sarha Connor Chronicles. A spin off of a movie franchise that had one fairly good movie.

Pushing Daises - another cop show (but this cop can bring people back to life - temporarily) Just what we need! Should have called it CSI: Ressurection!

Cavemen - great commercials, but a whole series based on it? Can anyone say "Its About Time!"? That joke works for about 5 minutes. Then its just a one note samba!

Chuck - a nerd gets his brain filled will all of the governments most important secrets? Whoa! Thats an original concept - NOT!

I could go on, but what's the point.



CBS is going to cable only? Best news I've had all week!


I agree with the original poster; I certainly hope the MPAA will be serving Television Week with a subpoena and a C&D.

The press does not have the right to blatantly break the law in order to "verify" a story.

Are you an idiot, why would they get a C&D for testing it. They're not distributing it, they're not condoning it - they're just confirming the validity of the story. You would complain if the story is ficticious, and you complain when the journalist ensures that it's real. Plus this is called fact checking, and many journalists have committed illegal acts in order to verify and authenticate the story their reporting on.


If they contacted the networks, maybe they got "written permission".... hmm, doesn't take a lawyer to figure that one out.


I've watched more a than few of these episodes and found 2 of them had clear warnings at the bottom of the screen stating "this video is property of..." and so on. This leads me to believe they weren't legitimately released by the studios to create hype.
BTW, all of them were DVD rips and of good quality.


A smattering of preairs? Let's see about half a dozen so far this year and about 12-15 last summer, seems to be more than a smattering of pilots. So sad how far behind mass media is on this subject. Breaking story, let's not get ahead of ourselves shall we?


Sorry, Free TV, it's still breaking copyright law, and Television Week has just announced in a public forum that they did so.

Would it be consequence free if Television Week sent their staff out to shoplift DVDs to prove how lax security was at a local store?


Good thing those NBC shows got out I think it's the only way they will be seen, remakes of old bad shows to start with.No Need to watch the No Body Cares Network Ido feel sorry for the people who work their,the better do somthing before its to late,along with all local stations.Wait & see one or two summer hits,as singing bee & Hero's is not the whole pot of beans


Who says that cable networks' pilots aren't out there? And who says that establishes series don't have preair episodes out there? Weeds already has 4 of the upcoming season's episodes on the net, and the new F/X series Damages' pilot is also available. Leaks are most definitely not confined to the free networks. It's just that those networks happen to produce far more original programming still, although it is VERY nice to see how many cable and pay networks are finally showing something other than reruns.

I'll admit that I'd originally thought that the networks had decided to use the internet to their advantage for a change. It's not as if television and the internet are going to remain separate in perpetuity. Network schedules can be so inconvenient when people are busier than ever.

Here's a thought - instead of competing for time slots, broadcast/stream ALL television on the internet. Why limit US programming to the US? And I'd like to see what airs elsewhere in the world. The technology exists, as it does to force advertising down our throats as well. I prefer to watch shows on my pc anyway. I can pause, rewind, replay, zoom in, in short, control my viewing experience much more easily and completely here. And then there'd be no scheduling conflict between 24 and Two and a Half Men :D

As for those complaining about what's being offered these days ... serial television has been steadily improving while motion pictures have declined. And if you don't like it, don't watch it. Better yet, move to Hollywood and develop your own series so we can tell you how unoriginal and derivative it is. After all, isn't everything a take off of Shakespeare anyway? ;)

Daniel M.:

If the networks wanted to promote shows, why waste time leaking the most anticipated shows on the web? The audience already can tell which series seem to be highly anticipated with all the ad time spent during crappy, summer reality shows across all the major networks. I have seen more ad time spent for Gossip Girl, Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Life, Dirty Sexy Money, and others. How about other shows like Carpoolers? If the networks are going to choose a show worthy enough to be on the fall schedule, then give it some ad time and promote the hell out of it.


how many people in the entertainment industry have money in the bank they will never spend? i guess my
real question is, how could some un-aired episodes getting play over the internet be bad for buisness?
if the show sucks no one will watch it anyway. if the show is worth watching than people will watch it. inernet or not. look at it as a "market trial" see what people have to say and if the response is negative than scrap the show. its not like the whole season is available online. lmao. i dont even have cable tv anyway i hook my computer up to a 52in projector screen. and im sure im not the only one.



sorry the tv-links link pointed to the wrong site...sorry....

here is the CORRECT link


Watch Online Movie and TV Series at

NSR has over 350 free movies, cable and TV site links.One of the most comprehensive lists of free
entertainment on the web today.

Ron P:

tv-links shutdown and its tvshack now. also try

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