Weekend Post

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    Pilot notes can be maddening. And we’ve all received them. Usually they’re of the “can we up the stakes?” or “can we make her nicer?” variety. Whatever they can do to make the show more formula. And if the exec just spent the weekend attending the Robert McKee seminar, look out. He’ll try to turn every show into CASABLANCA.

    And this happens more than you think. Often times networks have agendas and the purpose of their notes is to steer you in the direction of those agendas.

    Case in point: A project David and I once had at Fox. Now I should point out that this was several years ago and they’ve gone through eight or nine regimes and two or three ownership changes since then. So the policy back then is not necessarily the policy they follow today (although I suspect it is).

    Our pilot was an upscale workplace comedy featuring three really bright young men. I mean, Aaron Sorkin bright. The network really liked the first draft and had minimal notes. One was, could we do a scene in a restaurant or bar? Just someplace away from their office. Fair enough. We asked if we could adjust one of the scenes we already had and just move it to a bar, and they were fine with that.

    Then they said, “Oh, and we want a hot babe. We need a smokin’ hot babe”. We said, “No problem. We’ll need a waitress anyway”. And they said, “Oh, not just for this show. We need her to be a series regular.”

    Now this threw us a little. I asked, “To do what?”

    And this was their answer:

    “We don’t care. We just want a hot babe in the show”.

    We busted out laughing. What else could we do???

    Now they could have said, “We feel it would provide balance” or “it would be nice to have a woman’s perspective in this show” but we all knew that was bullshit. They just wanted ****! This was Fox. On a creative level this addition made no sense, but hey, I applaud their honesty.

    Eventually they passed on the show, felt it was too sophisticated and more of an NBC series than Fox. On the other hand, there was one character they really loved. Guess which one.

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