Steve Carell’s new TBS crime comedy will be binge-broadcasted for 25 commercial-free hours

“Angie Tribeca” is ready for its binge-watching close up.
“Angie Tribeca” is ready for its binge-watching close up.
Image: TBS
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Binge-watching isn’t just for cord-cutters anymore.

The Office boss Steve Carell is heading back to TV this week with a new crime-fighting comedy on TBS that takes binge-watching to a new level.

The first 10 episodes of Angie Tribeca, executive produced by Carell and his wife, comedy writer Nancy Carell, and starring Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), will premiere in the US on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 9 pm and run on a loop for 25 straight, commercial-free hours. The show also will be streamed on TBS’s video on demand, digital, and mobile platforms.

The second season will then pick up the following Monday, Jan. 25, claiming the 9:30 pm time slot on TBS, with one half-hour long episode a week.

With the launch, TBS is pulling a Netflix and leveraging the binge-watching phenomenon that has worked so well for the streaming platform. The trouble is, it’s asking people to binge-watch on its own schedule, not theirs.

The series breaks on a holiday weekend in the US (government offices and public schools are closed Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Day), which might work in TBS’s favor. But it’s still betting that viewers will relinquish at least five hours of their down time to brand new programming.

Last year, NBC had moderate success with a similar roll out for Aquarius, a drama about the Charles Manson murders starring David Duchovny. The network released all 13 episodes of the first season online after the pilot debuted on TV. The show’s ratings were strong enough to grant it a second season.

USA Networks, Lifetime, and other networks have also experimented with releasing programming online ahead of or in lockstep with new TV releases. But TBS is one the first to premiere a brand new show with an on-air marathon.

The network is so confident in Angie Tribeca, and the all-at-once launch strategy, that it ordered the second season to air almost immediately after the first. Following the first 10-episode arc, each episode is considered a season unto itself, TBS said, with a premiere and finale crammed into every 30-minute program.

So far, it seems the network’s bet is justified. The sitcom has gotten solid reviews from critics, who called it “juvenile” and “relentless,” but nevertheless “hilarious.”

Angie Tribeca’s commercial-free release is one of a few ways Turner Broadcasting, which owns TBS, is playing with programming and advertising models to win back cord cutters. It’s also trimming the ad loads for select shows on its truTV and TNT channels, and swapping out traditional commercials for native ads in some programming.