For the most part NBC sitcom’s haven’t attained the type of success the network would like, so they’re trying something new.
You. Got an idea for a sitcom? Can you write comedy? Where does your creativity take you?
NBC Comedy Playground (click on the link to go to the website) invites anyone with the next best idea to present it BEGINNING May 1. The website looks cool but it doesn’t go active until May 1st.
Entrants will be allowed to a submit up to two video samples (5-10 minutes in length) of pre-existing video work, or up to two pitches (2-5 minutes each), each describing a different idea.
NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke has assembled an impressive group of talent to act as judges, including Aziz Ansari, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Mindy Kaling, Adam McKay, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Amy Poehler, Eva Longoria and others.
They, and the network, will pick the ten best ideas and will shoot pilots. The two best will be aired with a four episode commitment.
Dr. Garth Jowett, a professor at the University of Houston specializing in the history of communications, popular culture, propaganda studies, and the role of media in modern society. “Television has shown itself, in the last couple years, to be pretty bifurcated in the sense that you now have cable television now producing quality productions that rival even what is shown in theaters” Dr. Jowett tells KTRH News. “The networks, while they still have the largest share of audience, are hard pressed to come up with ideas to pull audiences back who are increasingly moving to cable.”
Jowett says the move isn’t a surprise and is an interesting lure given multi-platform marketing employed by the networks.
“How many of us, in not 99.9% of us, sat in front of our television sets and said something like, ‘God, I could write a better show than that!’”
Most significant, according to Dr. Jowett, is that audiences have changed. The writers NBC has on staff have been around for years, and capturing a younger demographic is vital to the success of any enterprise planning to survive in the current upheaval of public entertainment. This promotion might give NBC an entrée to a group of tech-savvy, aspiring comedy writers that might otherwise have fallen through the cracks.