Thursday, April 26, 2018

The pilot process -- where everything currently stands

This is nervous time for pilot producers/creators/agents/actors – pretty much anyone associated with the many pilots currently under consideration for a fall or midseason network pick up.

Decisions will be made as soon as next week and production teams are scrambling to assemble and ready their pilots for presentation.

It’s also the time when rumors are flying left and right – which show is hot, which show is dead, which dead show is suddenly hot again? Industry websites are buzzing with speculation.

The big X-Factor, of course, is testing. Studios now pre-test their pilots in anticipation of the networks audience testing. Those test results completely shuffle the deck.

There are also existing shows currently on the bubble. Some have gotten tryouts in different time slots to see if their fortunes improve. Others simply wait to see how well the pilots test. If your network has a strong slate of pilots you’re probably dead. If the development season is a flop you might get a reprieve.

Add to the mix commitments, network needs, how many holes in the schedule need to be filled, compatible shows to fill an hour, pressure to increase diversity, ownership of shows, and license fee costs and you get a pretty good idea of the craziness that lies ahead for those with a dog in this race.

And as super-agent Bob Broder once said, “Everything turns to shit over Mississippi” – meaning show that the network loved while screening in LA often lose their luster once the test results are in as they fly to New York for the final decisions.

Best of luck to all the contenders. And I always leave you with my quote for the Upfronts process. “The winners go to work and the losers go to Hawaii.”



VincentS said...

Your quote at the Hawaii reminds me of a similar quote Michael Caine mad in his famous acting for film video regarding movies: "Everybody buys their yachts and the previews and goes bankrupt at the premier."

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Ken, can't wait for your thoughts on the Cosby verdict this morning.
(Spoiler alert: he was found guilty.)

Peter said...

Ken, I was in a bookstore earlier today browsing the film section and flicked through a book called Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Miller. Have you read it? The guy has interviewed almost everyone who's ever been connected to CAA in some way. I love juicy industry gossip. One of the most entertaining books I've read was the Don Simpson biography, High Concept. Between all the drugs and hookers, I'm amazed he had time to produce movies.

Anonymous said...

@Peter You may like Jim Miller's podcast, "Origins".

Mike said...

In September 2016, Ken wrote: I’m reading the book on CAA where no one does anything for the art. It’s all about money, power, and fame. (I’m enjoying the book but have to take a shower after each chapter.)

In October 2016, Ken posted his review.

In the comments to the review, you write:
This would actually be my kinda thing to read. I'm fascinated by insider stories about Hollywood. One of the most enjoyable is High Concept, a biography of Don Simpson.

DyHrdMET said...

I put on the TV this morning and saw Leave It To Beaver on TV. It was episode 29 in the season, and I saw they had 39 episodes each year. How did they do it? That's 3 times as many as a typical half season order. I understand it was common to have that many shows each season. How did everyone involved do it each year without wearing down or breaking down? Did everyone get paid accordingly. And how did they do it with so many child actors and their limited schedules?

Greg Ehrbar said...

I forgot about the book. Thanks for the reminder.