While several TV networks offer companion Web series to their TV shows. Bravo, a unit of NBC Universal, is using an orginal Web series to grow a prime-time program.

The network recently launched the second season of Emmy-nominated Web show “Last Chance Kitchen” that has helped to drive audience to the show, says Lisa Hsia, EVP Bravo Digital Media, in an interview with Beet.TV.

What’s unique about the digital series is that it serves the traditional show, rather than merely acts as a complement. In “Last Chance Kitchen,” chefs who have been eliminated from the TV show can compete anew to land another slot on the TV program. “On-air drew to digital and digital threw back to on-air and we had a social loyalty and rewards program driving to both,” she says, adding that Bravo increased its reach in double digits to the on-air show via the digital component. “I no longer think of Bravo only as a TV network, but as a content production netowrk of which digital and analog are a part of it.”

The other benefit of a digital series such as Last Chance Kitchen is that it offers a new revenue stream for selling ads. Hsia adds that second screen has played a role in the success of the digital series. For the newest season, Bravo will allow for more fan input. Via “Save a Chef,” fans can now vote on chefs eliminated in “Last Chance Kitchen” that they want to see have another shot the next week.

Bravo has been an innovator in the digital arena for some time, exploring companion Web series and social TV interaction for its shows.  Last month, we reported on a new interactive platform for TV viewers.

This video is one in a series of leadership interviews with digital innovators presented by FreeWheel.

Daisy Whitney