Thursday, October 19, 2006

What a great time to pitch NBC


How’s this for good timing? Friday afternoon my partners and I are going to NBC to pitch a comedy pilot.

In fairness, I did say to the assistant setting up the meeting, please don’t schedule it for the day after NBC announces sweeping cutbacks and the firing of 700 loyal employees. But that’s what we’ve got.

I like the executives we’ll be pitching to. They’re smart, alive (not always a given), and supportive. I never take rejection personally. Sometimes they buy, sometimes they don’t. That’s just the nature of the biz. But I hope they’re still there on Monday. I hate when I have to pitch to people packing boxes.

The other part of the NBC announcement was that they were going to discontinue programming comedies and dramas during the 8:00 hour. Too expensive. Better to just run cheap game shows and reality shows. And it’s not like NBC was a haven for comedy anyway. They have only four, with two on life support after only two weeks. Our chances are really good. And making the task even harder, our idea is not a behind-the-scenes look at SNL.

Putting my own little needs aside, eliminating 8:00 comedies seems to me like a really short sighted idea. Remember the last time NBC was in last place? What show completely saved their ass? Hint: it wasn’t THE WEAKEST LINK. COSBY in the 80’s and more recently FRIENDS became the saviors of the network.

In this new “reorganization” I question whether NBC will even need a comedy department. Perhaps those duties could just be added to the Facility Manager’s responsibilities.

Oh well. Maybe our idea will be the one that completely turns things around. Although, at the moment, I’m just hoping the guard at the front gate hasn’t been fired otherwise we’ll never even get in the building.

26 comments:

Will Teullive said...

Ken,
I wish you guys well pitching the pilot, maybe you two will spark the return of the primetime sitcom over at:

Not
Buying
Comedy

Who knows it could be:

Nothing
But
Comedy

In five years the peacock will officially be replaced with a clown; who bears a frightening resemblance to former 'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno.

Richard Jensen said...

Good luck on the pitch tomorrow. I've pretty much given up on network TV but for you guys, I'll give it another shot. But if you don't sell it, I'm done with them.

Ken Rasak said...

Does your show involve an adorable monkey who occasionally gets to carry a firearm? That is something I'd pay to see, so you can bet I'd tune into it for free!

Scott E. Amundson said...

Haha. It's a bad time for institutionalized entertainment. Take all your content to the 'net, Ken. That's where it will end up, anyway. A day or two before everyone was fired, NBC was posting stuff on youtube. Very telling. Power to the People! We have an opportunity to build our own dist. systems on the internet before NBC and their ilk consolidate contrl of our new media. Check out www.TNAOBB.blogspot.com for a rebel yell to the Powers That Be!!!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Good luck, guys.

Whenever I read something about downsizing in the networks, I am reminded of a comment I read somewhere (I wish I remembered where) about the state of radio. As you know, drama shows used to be big on radio too. When television took over, radio didn't die. They just fragmented and fragmented and turned into a whole bunch of very succesful drama-free providers of niche-programming. The survival of networks may not be in drama's in the long run. And the survival of drama may not be in networks.

As much as I would like it to be otherwise.

Caroline said...

I hope you guys rock in the pitch.

The fact that they're taking your meeting at all is a good sign. I don't think they'd waste your time (emphasis on your) given your stature in the business.

Heaven knows they could use a legitimately funny show. 30 Rock is killing my soul one show at a time.

Tom Quigley said...

On top of maybe losing the chance to pitch a pilot, I'm sure it would also eliminate any possibility of you and David getting comp'd on tickets to the Universal Studios Tour....

At any rate -- Good Luck on the meeting, Ken.

Beth Ciotta said...

Friday afternoon? As in THIS afternoon? Wishing you and David the very best with your pitch, Ken. Rock the house (what's left of it after the lay-offs). How long will it take them to decide they must have your wit and brilliance? :) When will you know? Jeez. I'm on pins and needles.

Ted said...

Good luck, but you might want to take Ken Rasak's advice and pitch them a reality show involving a monkey with a firearm. People could yell at briefcases while a monkey fires live rounds.

Paul Duca said...

This might be a little off target at first glance. but I heard it yesterday and I don't know how long I'd have to wait for a relevant entry.

If you are looking for some motivation to deliver a successful pitch, Ken...tell yourself that should it go, you can treat yourself to an offical Dodgers urn or casket.

As I heard on the radio yesterday, a funeral company has partnered with Major League Baseball to offer internment items emblazoned with offical team logos.

Providing you pass by next Opening Day, you can be in the Dodgers crematory urn. Should you linger on into the season, the casket will by ready by then. And if Matt, like Veruca Salt, goes first,they are available in Red Sox livery--as well as Yankees, Cubs, Tigers, and one other team that escapes me.


Best of luck regardless of your physical state.

The Curmudgeon said...

Is your pitch appointment an example of "comedic timing?"

Dave Williams said...

I'd wish you luck today, Ken, but after reading the Gurvitz book I have no doubt your pitch will be postponed to next week. ;)

Still -- sing it!

Diane said...

No comedies from 8 to 9? Aren't My Name is Earl and The Office in that time slot?

VP19 said...

As I heard on the radio yesterday, a funeral company has partnered with Major League Baseball to offer internment items emblazoned with offical team logos.

Providing you pass by next Opening Day, you can be in the Dodgers crematory urn. Should you linger on into the season, the casket will by ready by then. And if Matt, like Veruca Salt, goes first,they are available in Red Sox livery--as well as Yankees, Cubs, Tigers, and one other team that escapes me.


That team is the Phillies, who, save for 1980, have been annually killing their fans' hopes since 1883.

Mike Barer said...

Well now NBC can stand for No Brandnew Comedies.

Dhppy said...

I'm guessing the pitch is over now. I hope it went well at:

Now Banishing Creativity

Nixing Beleaguered Correspondents

Nothing But Commerce


Speaking of NBC, did you ever work with Brandon Tartikoff? If so, I'd love to hear any stories about him. He seemed to do his share of network saving.

Mike Barer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Barer said...

Nolonger
beating
CBS

Anonymous said...

Dear Ken,

You wrote, "Putting my own little needs aside, eliminating 8:00 comedies seems to me like a really short sided idea."

I always thought that phrase was "short-sighted," as in the idea or plan has immediate benefits but is not "looking" at the long range effects.

Am I terribly wrong? If it is "short sided" what exactly does that mean as a metaphore? If something has short sides that would mean that it is not particularly tall, but may have very long tops and bottoms. So something that is "short sided" would be wider than it is tall?

This would probably be a bad thing in Hollywood where things with long sides and narrowness in other places (I'm thinking actors, actresses, strippers, etc.) would be a bad thing. As far as I know the only person in entertainment who is proudly wide in the bottom is Queen Latifa, bless her soul.

But for coffee tables and podiums short-sidedness is not a bad thing, is it?

Ken Levine said...

Good catch. It's been corrected.

davewilliams said...

Ken,

Your restraint is remarkable.

Anonymous blogging is like throwing a rock through somebody's window with a note attached.

You ever notice nobody leaves anonymous compliments?

Dave

Anonymous said...

I like that you're tall. It makes me feel more feminine.

See, Dave, it can be done.

Shaun O'Dwyer said...

Hi Ken,
hope the pitch went well. i am working on a comedy pilot myself and i was wondering whether you could give me some advice on how to get a meeting with an exec and then how to pitch it well?

i'm sure your busy but i'd really appreciate the advice.

best,
Shaun
shaunodwyer@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Any advice to an aspiring TV writer?

Anonymous said...

I've got a Sitcom for them. The question is how to get them to look at it? I've tried every sight I could find and they all want money or whatever. Seems to me unless you're an insider you TSOL.
Hanging out at the front door of the networks doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I hope you guys are looking for good ideas for new shows and aren't judging on internet saavy. I am a 36 year old, funny (fidiculous), smart (cynical) and educated (just got my J.D.) and have some great fucking ideas. Interested at ALL? I suck as much as you do, give me a call, friend. Amy xoxo