NBC wants to find fresh comedic voices. NBC’s Entertainment President Jennifer Salke today announced “NBC Comedy Playground,” which the network is calling a “grassroots” initiative designed to invest in new “cutting-edge comedy” through a national campaign that offers aspiring comedy writers from across the country the opportunity to pitch ideas with the winners getting a show on the NBC schedule. Salke made the announcement at NBCU Press Day — a sort of itty bitty Summer TV Press Tour — in Pasadena. “In our quest to break new comedy at the network in addition to our team doing great work, I felt it was time to push forward a marriage between what’s happening on the internet and the network,” Salke said.
NBC has lined up what it’s calling an all-star comedy Advisory Board comprised of A-list talent, including Aziz Ansari, Jason Bateman, Robert Carlock, Sean Hayes, Mindy Kaling, Jason Katims, Josh Lieb, Eva Longoria, Adam McKay, Seth Meyers, Todd Milliner, Will Packer, Amy Poehler, Craig Robinson, Maya Rudolph, Mike Schur, Adam Scott and Mike Shoemaker, to “help the network” select two winners to create original shows intended for telecast during summer 2015 on NBC. The A-listers will pick two programs that will win half of a one hour slot on the network.
“Funny people: send your stuff in — and you will get to see your show on a network, and potentially reach a lot of people,” Salke said, speaking to America.
NBC said it will use its playground to find comedy writers “reaching beyond the traditional talent labs of film schools and NY/LA comedy clubs” in order to “enrich the traditional television development model.”
“We are taking a bold, alternative approach in what we hope will uncover original comedy minds who are looking for a way to get into the television business,” said Salke. “We love that an incredible A-list roster of producers, writers and performers have jumped in to help us find that untapped talent.”
NBC explains its playground:
Beginning May 1, aspiring comedy writers are asked to submit their ideas to be considered for both digital and network comedy shows. Entrants may submit up to two video samples (5-10 minutes each) of their pre-existing work, along with up to two video pitches (2-5 minutes per pitch), each describing a unique, original show idea. The Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, are available at nbc comedy playground.
Up to 10 finalists will be chosen by the NBC Selection Panel, and NBC will provide funding for each finalist to produce a full pilot presentation based on his/her original pitch. Two winners will be selected by the all-star comedy Advisory Board, in consultation with NBC. Each of the winners will have their show broadcast on NBC.
The remaining finalist presentations that aren’t selected will be posted to the “NBC Comedy Playground” website where the public will vote for their favorites – and the one receiving the most votes will then be developed as a digital show.