NBC Uni 'places its bets' online

Social networking, Dunder Mifflin, 'Conan' on tap

NBC Universal will be introducing social networking tools on its Web site later this year along with streaming episodes of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," NBC Digital Entertainment said Monday.

Beginning in September, NBC.com will showcase such networking capabilities as profiles containing user-generated content, online communities in which users can interact with network personalities, widgets as well as user blogs, photo and video galleries.

"You'll see us place multiple bets on a lot of different technologies," said Beth Comstock, president of integrated media at NBC Universal, at the company's presentation Monday at the Television Critics Assn. at the Beverly Hilton.

On Aug. 27, NBC will begin streaming episodes of "Conan" on the site. Daily episodes will be available the next day at 5 a.m. PDT.

Also in late August, NBC will unveil a corporate site for Dunder Mifflin, the fictitious paper company at the center of "The Office." Users will be able to log on to this site, join branches and complete challenges relating to the show.

The network will ramp up the online presence of "Heroes" this summer, as well, presenting sites dedicated to specific characters. NBC also will introduce Season 2 characters from the drama on the portal.

Vivi Zigler, executive vp digital entertainment and new media, referred to the 360 approach as her favorite model.

" 'Office 360' will be very different from 'Heroes 360' and much more organic to the comedy on the show," she said.

The site for "The Biggest Loser" also will have a new look in the fall for its fourth season. New host Alison Sweeney will write a blog, and NBC will offer online exclusive video segments on contestants and scenes that weren't on the broadcast.

"Coastal Dreams," a Web-only soap opera geared toward a younger audience, is set to debut in October on NBC.com. This project previously was announced during the upfronts in May.