NBC: Pilot Script Orders Will Be Honored

Jan 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

On the heels of competitors cutting their pilot scripts orders due to the ongoing writers strike, NBC Universal executives said Wednesday they will honor their fall deals.
“This has been a very tough period for all of us—networks, studios, writers—and we felt strongly that we believe in these projects,” said Katherine Pope, president of Universal Media Studios.
The surprising move stands in contrast to Fox, CBS and The CW, which revealed earlier this week they were cutting their script orders. ABC has not yet announced its plans.
With NBC typically residing in fourth-place among the major broadcast networks, NBC Universal has been aggressive about finding ways to cut costs. The company joined competitors in canceling dozens of overall development deals earlier this month. Last week, CEO Jeff Zucker hinted that the network will scrap its upfront presentation plans. And on Tuesday, Mr. Zucker announced the company planned to drastically reduce its reliance on scripted pilots moving forward.
But executives said Mr. Zucker’s most recent comments were “lost in translation,” since the network still needs to see a scripted first episode—if not an actual produced pilot.
“It’s not as if somebody walks in with a pitch, we’ll say ‘go to series,’” Ms. Pope said. “We still need an ‘episode one’ in script form. You still need to see it in writing.”
The decision to honor current pilot deals, NBC executives said, was not in response to any creative community reactions to Mr. Zucker’s announcement.
“We just want to give writers a chance to deliver what we bought from them,” said Teri Weinberg, head of scripted programming for NBC.
Added Ms. Pope: “We just feel very strongly about the stuff we’re holding on to. … You never know how a script is going to turn out—a lot of times you’re going to be very surprised.”


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