Do you have a flair for storytelling and know your way around a strong punchline? You may be just the person NBC is looking for.
This week, the network announced a new initiative called NBC's Comedy Playground where aspiring show runners and comedy writers have the chance to pitch their idea for the next great sitcom. Of the finalists that impress the higher-ups, two winners will produce their shows for an on-air debut next summer and a third will get a digital premiere if he or she gains the favor of the online voting public.
NBC has also assembled a panel of 18 comedy heavy-hitters -- all of whom know a little something about being employed by the network -- to help choose the winner. The list includes Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Craig Robinson, Mindy Kaling and Jason Bateman.
As for the current state of NBC's comedy slate, Parks and Recreation's future has been assured for several weeks now, and Community fans may just get a sixth season after all. There's no definitive word yet about the midseason fates of About a Boy and Growing up Fisher. Two of the higher-profile NBC sitcoms that started this year, eponymously-titled series starring comedy veterans Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Show), and Sean Hayes (Sean Saves the World) will not be seeing sophomore seasons.
Video submissions will be accepted from May 1 to June 30. You can enter the competition so long as you're 18 or older, able to work in the U.S. and don’t already have a show that's aired on a national network or cable TV. Oh, and you can't work for NBCUniversal.
With Yahoo and Microsoft jumping in on the original content game and Amazon already commissioning series for its third pilot season, it seems that the playing field is getting only wider, not just in terms of audience viewing platforms, but with ideas that don't come from the usual suspects.