NBC invites your ideas to its Comedy Playground, to put favorites on air in 2015

It’s your first day on the job at this radio station, and everything you thought you knew about radio gets thrown out the window. Including your stuff. Because that’s your boss’s idea of a joke.

Wait. Why am I telling you all of this? I should be saving this pitch for the suits at NBC! After all, they just announced a brand-new Comedy Playground where I can submit my idea for the next great sitcom, impress the celebrity panel of advisors and see it on the air in 2015! Seriously. This is a thing that is happening. Starting May 1. May Day! May Day! All aspiring comedy writers to your laptops!

Details, please?

Here you go:

NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke announced “NBC Comedy Playground” at NBCUniversal’s Summer Press Day in Pasadena on Tuesday. It’s a national campaign to find new comedy writers. “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.”

How it’ll work:

Starting May 1. So you have a few weeks to brainstorm and form your pitches. Starting May 1, though, you can visit the NBC Comedy Playground, sign in, fill out the application, and submit two videos — one, an introduction to who you are (5-10 minutes, with sizzle reel or examples of previous work); the other, your verbal pitch (2-5 minutes) explaining your sitcom idea.

Ten finalists selected will receive funding to produce a pilot presentation. Two winners then will be picked by an “all-star Advisory Board” in consultation with the network — the board members include 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. Each of the two winners will see their series on TV on NBC during summer 2015.

The other eight finalists will see their pilot presentations shared online in the Comedy Playground where everyone else can vote for their favorites, and see the top vote-getter getting a webseries as a result.

Rules? There are aplenty.

You must be at least 18 and allowed to work in America. If you reach the finalist stage, then you must be a member in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) or join.

And yet you also must be new to show business. How new?

  1. You must not have created a show that currently is on the air on a national broadcast or cable network.
  2. You must not currently have an “overall,” “term” or “first look” deal with a television studio or a broadcast or cable television network (as those terms are commonly understood in the entertainment industry). Your participation in the Contest may not violate any other obligations at law, pursuant to contract, or otherwise, that you may have.
  3. You must not ever have been a co-executive producer, executive producer or a showrunner on a broadcast television series.

Submissions will be considered if entered between May 1 and June 30, 2014.

Oh, and no animation. NBC is seeking live-action sitcom pitches only in the Comedy Playground.

You can follow the process along on Twitter via @ComedyNBC and #ComedyPlayground.

Salke herself Tweeted the following out on Tuesday night:

  • We’ve been waiting for months to open the door to this initiative. This is your chance to get a show on the air. #really #nojoke
  • We know you’re out there, we know you’re funny. We’ve seen your work on the internet and we want to bring it to #NBC – @JSalke
  • Don’t you want your work to be screened by comedy greats? #ForgetTheSuits It’s the funny people judging the funny. -@JSalk
  • THINK BIG! This could reach millions of people, so what do you want them to see? What’s your vision? #ComedyPlayground -@JSalke
  • Every submission will be seen by an exec and 2 shows WILL be on the air. It’s unprecedented access. #NoLoopHole -@JSalke
  • You may already have a following, but you could be reaching millions. Are you ready to play in the big leagues? #ComedyPlayground – @JSalke

Good luck!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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