Gary Levin, USA TODAY
The Good Wife has a new Boss.
The critically acclaimed drama - and CBS' website - will be the unusual first official spots to listen to Bruce Springsteen's 18th studio album, High Hopes, before its Jan. 14 release.
Starting at 10 p.m. ET Sunday, until 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 13, fans can stream the album exclusively, in its entirety, at CBS.com/springsteen. And the Jan. 12 episode of Wife will feature snippets of three songs from the forthcoming album, including the title song (released as a single last month), Hunter of Invisible Game and The Ghost of Tom Joad, a new version of the title track of a 1995 album.
It's part of a deal between Springsteen's label, Columbia Records, and CBS to gain wider exposure for the album in an unconventional way, and lure his Baby Boomer fans to the show and the top-rated network's website. CBS paid a customary fee to license the songs for the episode.
"Of course we were incredibly excited by the potential; we're huge Springsteen fans," says Michelle King, co-creator and executive producer of the series with her husband, Robert.
The deal came together after the episode, this season's 12th, had been written and filmed, but not yet edited. Its writer, Keith Eisner, is "from New Jersey, and when he heard Bruce Springsteen songs were being used, he literally jumped up and down," she says.
Springsteen recorded versions of the 12 songs during the decade before his last album, 2012's Wrecking Ball, but only three were released in their early forms: Hopes, a Tim Scott cover, on a 1995 EP, American Skin (41 Shots) on a 2001 live set and Tom Joad. All tunes were freshly recorded for the new disc, which also includes covers of The Saints' Just Like Fire Would and Suicide's Dream Baby Dream.
"This is music I always felt needed to be released," Springsteen says in a statement announcing the CBS deal, to be unveiled today. "I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing."
Robert King says the producers got a "super-secret" listening session a few weeks ago, and though they initially planned to use one song, "we got greedy" and chose three. "The one that obviously jumped out at us was High Hopes; it has that driving momentum," he says. And they picked Invisible Game for the closing scenes, tying together several plot threads.
In the episode, titled "We Are Juries," Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and former partner Will (Josh Charles) separately represent each side of a couple accused of drug smuggling, and cause confusion when they insist on separate jury pools.
Aiming for better ways to promote as music sales lag, it has become more commonplace for musicians to offer sneak previews of their work on iTunes or their own websites. Making an entire album available on a broadcast TV network website, however, is unprecedented.
But CBS' hopes for a coup were partially dashed when Amazon's mobile site on Saturday briefly sold tracks from the album. The songs were pulled, but not before eager fans had purchased and uploaded them to file-sharing sites. Early reviews based on those songs were mixed.