Fishing for Shows in LA
Andy Cohen let's you in on some recent pitches.
Good day from Los Angeles...
For the last few months I've been happily videochatting with my parents from 35,000 feet via my gogointernetconnect thing on American Airlines, but yesterday I got slapped with an Orange Terror Alert by my stewardess (can I call her that just this once?) who was walking by and threw a sheeetfeeeeet when she saw what I was doing. She freaked and said "you are ABSOLUTELY NOT allowed to do that" and I said that I absolutely AM allowed to chat with my parents in St. Louis and that I do it all da time and to go away.
She returned five minutes later with backup and a rulebook. Guess what: I am NOT allowed to do ANY SUCH THING as chat with my parents via iChat or Skype, or anything.
So THAT happened...I am en route to Burbank, where a day of pitch meetings awaits - one with a triple-A plus movie star about whom we're all in a bundle. Developing TV shows and the whole process of being pitched is a funny thing, often an exploration in murkiness. It is the constant hunt for the "idea", or the person, that is the perfect Bravo fit, at the perfect time for the channel. What sometimes stinks (to me) is that the process is a whole lotta fishing and wading and poking and exploring until you catch the exact show/idea/character that is perfectly on brand. It's the fishing and wading and poking that sometimes can be a little slow and dead-endy and exploratory for my ADD-ness. But it IS the process, and we have a great team with sharp fishin' rods doing their thing.
Yesterday, Bravo development head Cori Abraham and I were trying to figure out how many pitches the department took last year, and we think it's gotta be around 1500 separate things/ideas/concepts that have crossed us one way or another. The chances of making it are so slim, but when that one person or idea walks in a room you just KNOW, and that's a great feeling.
"The Real Housewives" came about as a result of a DVD pitched to us that was essentially interviews and B-roll about life in Coto de Caza. Shane was on the tape (talking about MILFS) and so was Jeana and, I believe, Matt. Season 1 housewife Kim was on there, too. We recognized that there was something there and began developing the idea of a series that would be a modern-day Peyton Place from a female point of view. We sent Coto Resident Scott Dunlap to find more people and he returned with Vicki and her employee Lauri and several others, we started shooting, came up with a format, and that's how that whole franchise started. (Little did the ladies know what would happen to their lives as a result.)
We had a pitch a couple weeks ago that was so great, we essentially bought it in the room. That VERY rarely happens. At one point or another, a lot of loons and legends come through the door and one never knows what will happen. I've been insulted in pitches, flattered, flirted with, mortified, horrified, and all the rest.
I had a pitch with Cybil Shepard that I wrote about a few years on the blog that was INSANITY - and if you haven't heard that tome, click HERE.
There was a pitch a few months ago from a group of people who said they were bringing in a "HUGE superstar" and her identity needed to be top secret and so just deal with it. The "HUGE superstar" turned out to be "Madame" - the doll that was a regular on "Hollywood Squares" with her then-handler, Waylon Flowers (since passed away). Do you know to whom I'm referring? Anyway, she has a new gay who sticks his hand up her and they were in. We didn't do that one and I didn't stay for the whole pitch and it was kinda very weird, although "Madame" and her gay were en fuego.
Beyond getting pitched people and concepts, the other way we develop is to come up with ideas/formats/people that we love internally and work with a production company to bring them to life. "Tabatha's Salon Takeover" is a recent example of that. I could go on and on about this, but coincidentally, I'm due at a development brekky, of all things! And how random that I actually started discussing WORK on the blog. I think maybe I'll do it more often.
Enough of Subway Graffiti. Have a great weekend.