Monday, May 3, 2010

Idea for networks picking pilots

Every year the networks go through hundreds of scripts, pick around 50-100 pilots to shoot, and pick a fraction of those to actually go on the air.

And sometimes, even after they do that, we get a situation like what happened with "100 Questions for Charlotte Payne" or "Happy Town" where months later the shows don't even make it on the air or are instant bombs.

Here's my thought. There are so many people that are die-hards for some TV. And people will pay more to get somewhere "first" whether it be the not-as-good version of the iPhone or an advance screening of a summer blockbuster. What if there were a way to get advance input on what shows will be successful, and make money off it?

My idea is that a network set up an online venue in which people pay for "advance screenings." Once they pay (and have the option of giving their age/gender) they're able to screen all the pilots. After each pilot they're allowed to rate it. You could even include short ads before each pilot as with hulu.

If done on a large enough scale, the networks would a) make a little money from the people paying to see the advance shows, b) get a better idea of what kind of ratings to expect, and c) get more word of mouth for shows that WILL be a success.

This is already done to an extent with test screenings, but those are done with random tourists in Las Vegas or people with nothing else to do in the middle of the day. And they're getting paid to be there. With my idea, people rate from the comfort of their own home, and you get a sample of people that are more like your prime time audience. Plus, they're paying YOU to be watch rather than getting a free pass to the Madame Tousaud's museum at the Paris Casino.

The networks are already familiar with the public voting on shows like American Idol, and people get really into it. Why not have people become die hard supporters of their favorite pilots?

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