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Early in Development Season, TV Networks Are Being Picky Deadline

It's early going in the development season, but the television networks are already being picky about giving commitments to A-list showrunners, reports Nellie Andreeva in Deadline.com.

"I’ve counted at least a half-dozen pitches by A-list showrunners, all under multi-million-dollar overall deals, that failed to sell over the past couple of weeks. The same thing has happened to a couple of feature writers," she writes.

The reason might be overspending last season, with NBC and ABC in particular indicating they will buy less as a result, the story notes.

Another issue might be the reluctance by TV studios to sign expensive overall deals with well-known writer-producers, the piece adds.

"The traditional overall development deals have already been overshadowed by the so-called ‘showveralls’ as TV studios opt more and more to sign overall deals with writer-producers who are tied to some of their key shows or are willing to staff," Andreeva writes.

Networks may instead be looking for fresher, less experienced show creators, she adds.

One top agent quoted in the story said: “The networks are being extra picky this year. The areas in which they choose to buy are narrower, and it feels like auspices are not as important.”

In contrast, an industry insider noted: “Last year, you’d walk in the door with a name and you’d get a commitment on the spot. It was more about being in business with those (writer-producers) than the actual idea.”