The CW will not stream the next five episodes of drama Gossip Girl online, as part of an "experiment" to see if TV ratings rise as a result.
The first non-web episode will air on US TV screens on Monday. The move is a departure for the broadcaster, which has previously promoted the benefits of online time-shifting and place-shifting.
"This is an experiment to see if this moves the needle at all," said The CW's senior VP of communications, Paul McGuire, adding that many promotional clips and recaps of the episodes would still be shown online.
Episodes of Gossip Girl regularly receive hundreds of thousands of views on CWTV.com. Ads are served when viewers stream the show online, but the traffic is not counted in Nielsen's TV ratings.
However, the new episodes will still be available to download from iTunes, at the normal price of US$1.99 an episode. The decision comes after The CW last week aimed to build a viral buzz about the show's return with a sexually charged advertising campaign.