Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rabbit season? Duck season? No, another pilot season!

In Los Angeles, actors, writers, producers and networks are getting ready for the madness that's known as pilot season. If you're unfamilar with the term, pilot season is when pilots for new televsion shows are approved for production by networks. There's a mad dash that starts in January to complete scripts, cast actors and shoot the pilots. With that in mind, networks are already getting a head start by "greenlighting" (approving) some new shows.

I'd like to propose some new shows for 2015-16. I'll start with what's called a logline (a one-sentence description of the show,) followed by some of the pitch to the network:
  • "You're The Judge": We take people off the street, put them in judicial robes and let them decide cases between real litigants, with binding decisions.

    This show doesn't deal with the kind of namby-pamby disputes that you might see on "Judge Judy." Think about "Rowe v. Wade" or "Brown vs. Board of Education" decided by a plumber with no legal training whatsoever. Or, all the "Apple vs. Samsung" patent lawsuits decided in 30 minutes by a hairdresser.

    In the same vein...
  • "Kids' Court": Disputes between first-graders are decided by a judge who's also a first grader, with binding decisions AND an appeals court.

    Remember those playground arguments you had when you were a kid? Were you bullied by someone? "Kids' Court" will let first-graders argue their cases in from of a first-grade judge. It's kids arguing and trying to understand the law at the level of most daytime television viewers! And, in a unique twist, the losers will be able to appeal their case to an appeals court with three third-grade judges. Think of it--a snowball fight case could fill two complete episodes!
  • "Hatewatch": The cast from "Mystery Science Theater 3000" makes on-screen snarky remarks during the second showing of an existing network series.

    Why should Tweeters have all the fun? "Hatewatch" brings the lovable professional hate watchers from "MST3K" together with YOUR bad shows! Instead of just burning off the remaining episodes, let "Hatewatch" set them on fire! And, it's incredibly inexpensive--you can use the showing rights you've already paid for, and the "MST3K" comments don't need much in the way of production value. Come to think of it, they don't need ANY production value.
  • "Life With the Joneses": A family situation comedy written by everyone who ever wrote for "The X Files," "Twin Peaks" and "Lost".

    What would a conventional family sitcom look like if it was written by the writers of some of the strangest, most elliptical shows ever seen on U.S. television? Pay us to find out!
  • "Detroitia": A fun-loving romp through the twee areas of America's most depressed major city.

    IFC's "Portlandia" has been so successful in communicating Portland's culture that even parts of the city that weren't twee before it went on the air are now twee. "Detroitia" will bring the same lighthearted point of view to Detroit. A male-female couple will visit Detroit's many overpriced, gentrified neighborhoods while trying to avoid arsons, abandoned buildings and physical assault. (What? Detroit doesn't have any overpriced, gentrified neighborhoods? Never mind.)
  • "Reality Island": The heads of reality programming for all the major television and cable networks fight to the death on a desert island.

    Each season, all of the top reality programmers at all the major television and cable networks are sent to an isolated desert island, with only enough food and water to last two weeks (but all the knives, guns and poisons they want.) When the food and water run out, they'll have only their wits and the dead bodies of their companions to live on. Waters around the island will be mined, and anti-aircraft guns will shoot down any helicopters that try to rescue programmers. The winner returns to his or her job; the networks employing the losers have job openings.
If you like any of the ideas, please feel free to use them. Somewhere, Paddy Chayefsky will be laughing.

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