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Broadband Content Bits: Showtime/Tara; Congress/YouTube; EQAL/CBS; SpongeBob

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imageShowtime to premiere TV shows on Web: And another reason for cable providers to complain about the networks’ premium content going to the Web … Showtime is promoting its new series The United States of Tara by putting the first episode on the Web for free; the season openers of The L Word and Secret Diary of a Call Girl will follow. The clips will be available on more than 100 outlets, according to Mediapost, including CBS’, YouTube, Facebook and iTunes, with mobile distribution on Verizon’s VCast, among others.

Congress invades YouTube: Continuing with the trend Barack Obama set with his digital-centric campaign and, YouTube announced today that legislators from both the Senate and the House are uploading video to two dedicated video channels, The Senate Hub and The House Hub. The clips include floor speeches and committee hearings, as well as “behind the scenes” footage of the legislators’ offices. Last October, the House and Senate adopted new rules allowing them to post content outside of the .gov domain.

More after the jump

*CBS* teams with EQAL for Harpers Island prequel: CBS (NYSE: CBS) has partnered with digital studio EQAL to launch an original online prequel to its primetime mystery show Harper’s Island. Called HarpersGlobe, the series goes live three weeks before the TV premiere, with social media features built in to the microsite. The content will also be available on and CBS Mobile.

Nick’s One of those “didn’t they have this already?” announcements … MTVN’s Nickelodeon has launched a site devoted entirely to SpongeBob. The video-heavy site includes content for both kids and their parents, with more than 300 searchable full episodes and clips, the ability to create customized playlists, set up profiles and play casual games. The launch is tied to the series’ 10-year anniversary.

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