12.27.2007

Strike note

Via TV Decoder (terrible name), this article, one of many, about the changes coming in TV development:

Talk of industry change is dismissed by some writers as spin designed to undermine union resolve on payment for streamed and downloaded distribution. But networks contend the strike has given a new urgency to the need to confront ballooning costs and an evolving marketplace.

"The strike is forcing us to look at the way we all do business and to make choices that were tough when business was as usual," said NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker. "This is allowing us to make the tougher choices."
Well, there's no reason it can't both be spin and true at the same time. The truth is that the development process -- particularly on the comedy side -- is broken. Last season I was told NBC ordered something like 60 comedy pilot scripts (mine among them). They shot eight. They took none. That's crazy for reasons including but not limited to:

1) That's an awful lot of money for nothing.
2) Those 60-odd scripts all come in over the same three-week period and are read by what, four or five guys. That's not a process that's going to lead to discriminating choices.

I mean, I see why it happens, because there's so much mystery in the process -- maybe you buy an idea on the hope that it comes way up on the page, or you go to pilot in the hopes of finding casting magic, but overall hope, as they say, is not a plan.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I haven't noticed anyone getting force-majured. What happened to that?

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