NBC - Saturday Night Live - Special Treat in a Box - Report - New York Times:
Given the subject matter, it was little surprise that NBC bleeped a recurring word in the chorus 16 times. But soon after the broadcast concluded at 1 a.m. Sunday, viewers who’d seen the bit on TV (and others who had just heard about it) could find the uncensored version online. That’s because the network itself had placed it on its own Web site (nbc.com) and YouTube.com, under the headings “Special Treat in a Box” or “Special Christmas Box.”
In less than a week the official uncensored version of the video has been viewed by over two million people on YouTube alone. In the process “Saturday Night Live” appears to have become the first scripted comedy on a broadcast network to use the Web to make an end-run around the prying eyes of both its internal censors and those of the Federal Communications Commission, whose jurisdiction over “Saturday Night Live” effectively ends at the Web frontier.
Lorne Michaels, the creator and executive producer of “Saturday Night Live,” cautioned in an interview that the strategy of treating Internet users to the equivalent of an authorized “director’s cut” of his late-night show “will be the exception” going forward. But he also predicted that other shows and networks, time and money permitting, would surely follow NBC’s lead in making available material that was deemed not ready for prime time, or even late night. “My sense is that, as always, now that the door has been opened, some things will go through it,” he said.