The award-winning producers of TV shows Thirtysomething and My So-Called Life are taking their latest project online, citing "frustration" at US TV networks.
Quarterlife will also be streamed on a dedicated programme website
Quarterlife, a drama about a group of recent graduates in Chicago, started as a pilot for ABC in 2005, but the network declined to make a full series.
But creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick stuck with the idea, and the show will now debut on MySpace in November.
"We want to prove there is another way," Herskovitz said.
The producer, whose recent credits include films like Blood Diamond and Traffic, admitted the move was "a gamble" but said he was attracted by the chance to have full creative control.
"Ed and I have a great interest in being independent, and for several years, we've realised the internet offers that possibility," he told trade paper Variety.
"When [we] did My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething, the network barely gave us any notes," he added.
"Now I have friends tell me that the network tells them what colour to make the walls."
Social networking site MySpace will have exclusive rights to each of Quarterlife's 36 episodes for the first 24 hours, after which the video will appear on the show's own website.
Ed Zwick directed the Oscar-nominated film Blood Diamond
The producers and MySpace will share revenue from adverts contained in the video stream. Additional revenue will come from product placement deals, Herskovitz said.
So far, about one hour of material has been shot, which will be divided into six or seven episodes.
Additional content, including character profiles, will also appear on MySpace, while scripts could be made available on the Quarterlife website for fans to make suggestions.
Quarterlife is not the first online series to be backed by Hollywood heavyweights.
Former Disney chief Michael Eisner produced an 80-episode high school drama, Prom Queen, which made its debut on MySpace earlier this year.
CBS television also commissioned the cult online comedy series Clark and Michael, featuring Superbad star Michael Cera.
But MySpace claims Quarterlife will be the first internet programme to have "network quality" production values - although its budget is likely to be much smaller than equivalent shows like Grey's Anatomy and Brothers and Sisters.
It debuts on 11 November.