The True Stories of How 14 2014 Freshman Shows Were Pitched

Cuz this seems like something we all should know:


by Lesley Goldberg & Bryn Elise Sandberg

Another year, another batch of potential breakouts looking to lure the mix of viewers and buzz that NBC’s The Blacklist generated a season earlier. Garnering early attention among the 2014-15 season’s two dozen new offerings is the Shonda Rhimes-producedHow to Get Away With Murder (ABC), telenovelaJane the Virgin (The CW) and genre plays Gotham(Fox) and The Flash (The CW).

There are recognizable works — ­comic adaptations, romantic comedies and, in the case of ABC, diversity — and a new cadre of film stars, led by Viola Davis(Murder) and Octavia Spencer (Red Band Society) making the leap to TV. “I’ve never been the show before and with this, I was the show … what was there to refuse?” Davis says of TV’s appeal.

But if history is any indication, stars don’t guarantee viewers — and second-season renewals are hard to come by. Not that cancellation scars have stopped talent from attempting new hits — the fastest rebounder of late being Dylan McDermott, who is returning to CBS with psychological thriller Stalker only a few months after the same network axed his 2013 starrer Hostages.

The Hollywood Reporter quizzed the producers behind several of the new fall offerings to find out how they pitched their series — as well as the stories behind the show titles and how they netted their stars.

Kenya Barris, Black-ish (ABC)

My daughter was trying to describe a kid in her class to me and she’s going on and on, and finally I had to stop her and say, “Are you talking about the only other little black girl in your class?” And she was like, “Oh yeah, I guess so,” and I was like, “Well why didn’t you just say that?” She was like, “I don’t know.” I looked at my wife and she was like, “Isn’t that beautiful? She doesn’t see color!” And I was like, “No, that’s ridiculous.” It was the moment when I realized that they were growing up in a totally different world, for better or for worse, than I had, and it was the impetus for this show. That’s how we kicked the pitch off.

Brian Gallivan, The McCarthys (CBS)

Even though The McCarthys is only loosely inspired by my family, a lot of real stories about the Gallivans were part of my pitch. I told one about coming out to my brother John and his wife, Debbie. At the time, they had baby twins, and John and Debbie were sleep-deprived and totally overwhelmed by being new parents. When I said I was gay, my brother, who had a baby crawling all over him, said, “Sometimes I wish I was gay.” His exhausted wife added, “I wish you were every day of my life.” Even though the pitch also included descriptions of the McCarthy characters and storylines, my family started to think it was just me telling crazy stories about them at every network. They started thinking that any one of them could go to Hollywood and pitch a show. I expect them to arrive here any day.

Matt Miller, Forever (ABC)

I came up with the idea when I was putting my 5-year-old son to bed, and he asked me, “Daddy, are you ever going to die someday?” I didn’t want to upset him so I said, “I’ll never die, don’t worry.” Then I thought about how you’re supposed to build trust through honesty and all that stuff, so I said, “I wasn’t completely honest with you. I will die someday, but it won’t be for a long time and by then you’ll probably want me to be dead,” at which point he burst into tears. I started kicking around the idea: What if a character wouldn’t or couldn’t die, and the amazing things that you could do with eternity? But then what if his son wasn’t immortal? Would the pain of watching him grow old and die be too difficult to bear? I started to play with this idea of the thing that we all want most in the world, immortality, being a little bit more of a curse than a blessing.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/29/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Aaron Tracy (SEQUESTERED) is writing the pilot for PUBLIC INTEGRITY, a CBS drama focusing on “the nation’s watchdogs…the passionate prosecutors of the Public Integrity Section….”  (El munchalito doesn’t want to get out of line here, but the “public integrity section” of what? The federal government? And nobody’s calling it a comedy?)
  • John Hlavin (THE SHIELD) is adapting Paramount’s 2007 series that nobody’s ever heard of for a TV series nobody will ever hear of. (But he’s doing it for Paramount TV so maybe he’ll at least make some money on the deal. Oh, wait, is there enough dinero in the world to make it worth working with Mark Wahlberg, who has been reported to be a producer on this project? Have I said “Oi!” yet today?)
  • Patrick Aison (a Blacklist.Com success story) is writing an untitled Fox drama pilot about “a vengeful young woman and a master assassin who form an unlikely partnership.” (Which, sad to say, doesn’t sound all that unlikely to me. If I were a vengeful assassin you’d better bet your little green apples I’d do whatever I could to hook up with said master assassin. Preferably Jean Reno or Charles Bronson, but still….)
  • Greg Russo (he wrote a new version of IT TAKES A THIEF) is writing the pilot for another Fox masterpiece about a “suburban family man who…runs the most successful custom-ticket auto-theft ring in Los Angeles.” (Seriously? THE SOPRANOS in L.A., but with hot cars? Who’s gonna sponsor this, TOP GEAR?)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

munchman sees BONES 2014 Season Opener

by munchman

So what do you think? In this time-shifty era, is it a spoiler to give away the big shock of an episode if it’s already been broadcast? Or do I have to wait until I magically know that everybody in the universe who DVR’d it has watched the playback?

I ask cuz Lord knowz I don’t want to hurt anybody’s experience of the most upsetting event in the history of an otherwise sorta cute but mostly bland series.


Oh, the hell with it. Cuz this:



That’s it, gang. Nothing else to see here. Move along. Move along.



Peer Production: IT’S PAYBACK TIME

Manipulate the audience much, Smith and Foulkes? (The creators of this 2 minute dystopian gem.) Ah, but isn’t that what artists are supposed to do?

Yeah, baby:

YouTube Preview Image

And now what may be the most complete credits ever presented on YouTube:

Production Company: Nexus
Director: Smith & Foulkes
ECD: Chris O’Reilly
Producer: Tracey Cooper
Production Manager: Fernanda Garcia Lopez
Technical Director: Dave Walker
Art Director: Daniel Burgess
Design: Renaud Futterer
Character Modeler: Sohrab Esfehani
Character Modeler: Denis Bodart
Modeler: Margherita Balestri
Animator: Dominic Griffths
Animator: Sergei Shabarov
Rigger & Animator: Paul Tempelman
Animator: Benoit Lecailtel
Matte Painter: Adam Willis
Matte Painter: Yohann Auroux
Texture Artist: Camille Fourniols
Texture Artist: Alex Veux
Texture Artist: Roxane Martinez
L&R: Michal Firkowski
L&R: Denis Bodart
L&R: Francois Mancone
L&R: Camille Fourniols
L&R: Jeremi Boutelet
Compositor: Elliott Kajdan
Compositor: Rob Ward
VFX: Claire Pegorier
VFX: Thanos Topouzis

Editor: Paul Hardcastle @ TRIM

Grade: Mike Skrgatic @ Time Based Arts

Sound Design & Mix: Anthony Moore, Dan Beckwith & Tom Joyce @ Factory
Sound Producer: Lou Allen @ Factory
Music Production: Company: SIREN
Music Producer: Sean Atherton & Sian Rogers
Music Composed by: Alex Baranowski
Music Production Company: SIREN
Music Producer: Sean Atherton & Sian Rogers
Music Composed by: Alex Baranowski

Live Action Production Company: 4Creative
Live Action Director: Keith McCarthy
Live action Producer: Shananne Lane
Director of Photography: Christopher Sabogal

Live Action VFX: MPC
Live Action Grading: George K @ MPC

Wait, there’s more:

Client: Channel 4 Television / CRUK

Agency: 4Creative
Creative Directors: Chris Bovill / John Allison
Creative: Pablo Gonzalez de la Pena
Agency Producer: Shananne Lane
Group Business Director: Olivia Browne
Business Director: Kuba Wieczorek
Group Marketing Manager: Charlie Palmer
Marketing Manager: Daisy Mount

Are You Ready for Dish Network’s Streaming Video Service?

We are! Can’t wait to see how this, the latest Adventure in New TV Paradigms, shakes out:


by David Lieberman

HGTV, Food Network, and Great American Country aren’t the first channels that come to mind when one thinks about programming for millennials. But following an agreement announced this morning, the Scripps Networks Interactive channels will be part of the package that Dish Network is assembling for its planned broadband video service that will target young viewers who want a low-cost alternative to the full pay TV bundle that many consider to be too expensive. The companies agreed to a multi-year contract renewal that will add DIY Network and Cooking Channel to Dish’s “America’s Top 200? package, and give the No. 2 satellite company additional opportunities to offer Scripps’ services on its video on demand (VOD) offerings and TV Everywhere streaming platform for subscribers both in and out of the home.

“We are committed to making our lifestyle content available to consumers wherever and whenever they want it,” Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe says. “This first-of-its-kind OTT [for 'Over The Top,' industry jargon term  for the Internet] deal for Scripps Networks Interactive enables us to reach even more people through Dish’s innovative services.”

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/27/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Gregg Hurwitz (V) is writing the pilot for NEW ANGELES, a series that not only sounds a lot like THE MATRIX when you read the P.R. (which the mighty muncher won’t put you through) but which also has Keanu Reeves attached. (And Roland Emmerich too. Strangely, no network has been announced as paying for this thing. Some people might wonder why, but not yers truly cuz…THE MATRIX? Again? And Keanu Reeves? Oi!)
  • Nick Rutherford & Allison Rich (some SMURFS stuff) have been added to the writing staff of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. (If you know ‘em, time to send the biggest congratulation bouquets you can afford. Or not cuz…SNL writers? Remembering their old friends? Is there a basis for that in recorded history? Huh?)
  • Nikki Toscano (who has such a great name that who the hell cares about her credits?) is writing LAST HOUR, an action drama pilot for CBS. (It’s being done in “real time” ala 24, so whatcha think? Hit? Miss? Can Nikki‘s name save the day in (real) time?)
  • Nick Thomas (LET’S BE COPS) is writing the pilot for 100 GRAND, called an “action comedy that centers on two guys who learn how to grow up in the most unexpected way: paying off a debt for a local crime boss.” (Not rain on anybody’s parade but , um, and then what happens? Send your episode ideas to me at – no, wait, don’t bother. Not a chance in the Netherworld this’ll get on the air. C’mon, admit it – don’tcha know I’m right?)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)