Recently I got ahold of the BLINDSPOT pitch meeting. Today I’ve been fortunate enough to get the transcript of the QUANTICO pitch meeting between the show’s writer/creator and ABC.
Writer/Creator: We understand you have a development deal with Priyanka Chopra, the hot Bollywood star.
ABC: (holds up a framed photo) Yes, here is a photo of her.
W/C: Uh, that’s a photo of a different Bollywood actress.
ABC: Oh. Right. I get them confused.
W/C: Well, I’ve got the perfect vehicle for Priyanka.
ABC: Okay, but I warn you, we’re already developing a sitcom for her. An Indian family show to go along with our black family show, Asian family show, Jewish family show, and Korean family show.
W/C: I’ve seen film on her and she’s not funny.
ABC: There’s film on her?
W/C: Yes. She’s an international movie star.
ABC: Can she act?
W/C: That’s the great thing about my idea – she doesn’t have to.
ABC: Thank God. We spent a fortune on that deal.
W/C: We put her in an hour drama, but we load it with so many tropes and make it so busy and absurd that no one notices. The only thing we ask of her is that she look hot.
ABC: Yes, yes, yes.
W/C: Good acting might get in the way.
ABC: Absolutely. And we have Viola Davis so as a network we’re covered in the good acting department.
W/C: Here’s the premise: Priyanka is an FBI recruit. She’s in training boot camp with the other recruits. Then there’s a big terrorist attack – haven’t figured out what or where yet –
ABC: Could it be the CBS building?
W/C: What? Uh, sure, let’s say it’s that for now.
ABC: Doesn’t have to be. It could be NBC.
W/C: I think terrorists are destroying that place from the inside but okay.
ABC: So there’s a big terrorist attack. From who?
W/C: That’s the hook. Well, one of several. The terrorist is one of the recruits.
ABC: So it could be her?
W/C: It could be her.
ABC: We don’t want it to be her.
W/C: Of course it’s not her.
ABC: But the audience thinks it’s her?
ABC: But do they like her if she’s a terrorist?
W/C: If she’s hot enough.
ABC: She is hot enough.
W/C: They’ll love her.
ABC: As long as we don’t show her blowing up something and killing hundreds of people.
W/C: She’s not the terrorist.
ABC: Unless she’s in a thong.
W/C: She’s not the terrorist.
ABC: (holding up photo): Can’t you just see her in a bikini planting a bomb?
W/C: That’s the other Bollywood star.
ABC: Oh. Right. Sorry.
W/C: Now some things about the show. All the recruits are incredible looking.
ABC: What about diversity?
ABC: Mormon isn’t diverse.
W/C: You’re right. We’ll kill him in the pilot.
ABC: You have to have a gay recruit.
W/C: We got one.
ABC: He can’t be stereotypical.
W/C: We make him a New York Jew.
ABC: Never seen that before. Great.
W/C: It’s a fuckin’ melting pot.
ABC: But a good looking New York gay Jew -- he can’t look too gay or too Jewish.
W/C: We’ll have an open casting call in Nebraska.
ABC: Do you think it’s a problem that in reality pretty much every FBI recruit is male and white?
W/C: Not if Priyanka is hot enough.
ABC: And you’re sure she can act enough to get by?
W/C: It’s hard to tell because of the subtitles but she can run.
ABC: In heels?
W/C: I don’t know if she’s that skilled.
ABC: Well, we can always get a double. (holding up the photo) What about this girl?
W/C: Who is she?
ABC: I don’t know. I’ll send the photo to the promo department. Maybe they’ll know.
W/C: Make sure they don’t accidentally post this girl in an ad instead of Priyanka.
ABC: Come on, that could never happen.
ABC: So let’s go over the tropes. FBI show – check. Hot babe action star – check. Big mystery to solve – check. Which one is the terrorist, by the way?
W/C: The actor who questions his lines.
ABC: Gotcha. There are still some tropes missing.
W/C: Everybody has secrets.
W/C: There's not a moment in the show that's even remotely plausible.
ABC: Big check there.
ABC: Or for me. Check.
C/W: Authority figures that may or may not be good guys.
ABC: You've done your homework.
C/W: The star has to clear her name.
ABC: Oooh, you got THE FUGITIVE trope in there too. Nicely done.
C/W: A wildly expensive super slick pilot with explosions and car chases and sex and violence. Once we get a pick up, all subsequent episodes will cut every corner we can.
ABC: All of this sounds awesome, but I worry about the longterm prospects. What if this show goes seven years?
C/W: You mean, how long can we keep this premise going? At what point do we have to identify the terrorist and then what is the show about?
ABC: Huh? No. We don’t care about any of that crap. In seven years will she be hot?
C/W: If not, we’ll shoot her character and find someone who is.
ABC: Wait a minute. “Who shot Priyanka?”
ABC: Okay. I love it. We just have to call Shonda Rhimes and see if it’s alright with her that we’re developing a pilot without her.
C/W: (grabbing the photo) Get back to me soon or we’re going to NBC with this girl.