April 9th, 2014
06:00 PM ET
NBC hasn't had the best luck with comedies in recent seasons, and the network is now looking outside of Hollywood for help.
With a contest called NBC's Comedy Playground, the network is hoping it can find untapped comedic talent. It's calling on anyone with an original sitcom pitch to submit their idea between May 1 and June 30.
NBC will wind up with 10 finalists from what will surely be a flood of pitches, and those 10 will have the network's pocketbook to create a 20-minute video presentation of their concept.
The network will then rely on its advisory board - a Who's Who of TV and comedic talent that includes Jason Bateman, Jason Katims, Mindy Kaling, Maya Rudolph, Eva Longoria, Will Packer, Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari - to help narrow down the two concepts that will make it to TV. The other eight finalists will still have the chance to see their concepts produced for online, as their presentations will then be put up for public vote. NBC is planning to have one champion named the winner for the digital comedy pilot, but it could be two if the vote is split.
“We love that an incredible A-list roster of producers, writers, and performers have jumped in to help us find that untapped talent,” NBC's entertainment president, Jennifer Salke, said in a statement. “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."
Ironically, one of the people who's just experienced the difficulty of having a comedy on NBC, Sean Hayes, is also serving on the advisory board. His new sitcom, "Sean Saves the World," was recently canceled.
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