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NBC seeking urgent laughs

(Posted August 3, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Attention comedy writers: NBC wants your passion projects. Quickly.

That's the message the struggling network is putting out around town, according to sources, to get a glance of good material in advance of its competitors.

With its lineup undisturbed by any new hit comedies, NBC is seeking to fast-track at least one spec script to a pilot order for midseason consideration. Submissions deadline is Sept. 15.

The initiative is an extension of the aggressive strategy entertainment president Kevin Reilly has implemented at NBC since the network unveiled its fall schedule to advertisers in May and promised to bring in new material by any means necessary. That has included taking a second look at projects passed over by its competitors, including recent series order "Windfall," which was set up at Fox. NBC also recently ordered four cast-contingent comedies this summer and reactivated two pilots it had passed on, "Filmore Middle" and "I Love Faron Hitchman."

While August is traditionally the period networks are hearing pitches, NBC is now set to pounce on the kind of project writers might find too intimidating to subject to the traditional gantlet that is the broadcast development process. NBC could potentially shoot a project submitted now as early as January.

NBC is hoping to capture the lightning in a bottle that jolted ABC last season, when writer Marc Cherry submitted on spec the script that became the megahit "Desperate Housewives." That said, NBC probably wouldn't turn its nose up at drama scripts, either.

NBC declined comment.

By Andrew Wallenstein

Source: ABC News

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