Monday, May 15, 2017
The Pilot process -- where we stand at this moment
Getting a role on a pilot has worse odds than winning a lottery (unless you’re Amanda Peet or Judd Hirsch – then you get a pilot every year).
And if you do get on a pilot don’t pop the champagne just yet. Many actors are replaced during the week of production. A bad runthrough and you’re through.
The number of pilots the networks pick up every May are very few. There’s like a 70% chance of a pilot not going forward. And if you’re lucky enough to beat those terrible odds you’re still not out of the woods.
Because networks frequently re-cast and re-shoot pilots after they’ve been picked up. That’s what’s going on now. Actors are being replaced.
What makes it even more mortifying is that now with industry websites and social media, these firings are all public. It’s not enough to lose your job, now the whole world has to know about it. It’s a public pantsing.
I point out these two examples because both actresses are known and can find other work (Jenna already has – assuming she’s still in it).
But there are other actors and actresses that are not as well known and are being replaced and I see no need to add to their public shame by naming them.
Look, sometimes the firings are justified. They may be lovely actors but just not right for that role. We’ve had to do it ourselves and it’s horrible. And I’ve often told the story of Lisa Kudrow being replaced by Peri Gilpin during the pilot week of FRASIER. Lisa promptly wound up on two shows – MAD ABOUT YOU and that thing about friends (I forget the title).
Make no mistake, showrunners get replaced too. And their curb kicking gets a blurb in Deadline Hollywood. But they’re writers so nobody cares. And the reason is usually creative differences (which is now code for: didn’t take all our notes and thank us for them). But when an actor is fired it’s personal. They didn’t like HIM or didn’t like HER. They weren’t funny enough or cute enough or had chemistry with Matt LeBlanc (like Liza Snyder does). Focus groups rejected them because they didn’t like their shoes (and trust me, that happens). It’s brutal!
So again, to all the actors who are getting replaced, hang in there. You could be the next Lisa Kudrow. Or Jenna Fischer (assuming she’s still in it).