10 Television Pitches Not Likely To Be Greenlighted


Like Homer Simpson, I’ve had many a dream in my 30 years on this planet. When I was a kid, I used to tell my mother I wanted to be a bus driver. Of course, she claimed I could aspire to greater things, so I grew up to be a miserable server slinging food to nice retired folk instead. But that’s not a dream, it’s a necessity. I need to pay the rent.

This quarter-fulfilled dream of being a writer is a long and painful journey. Luckily, there’s booze and cigarettes and television to dampen and feed and entertain the boring, arid wasteland of my life. I know I come off as histrionic and perhaps a tad childish, but what you read is what you get. Kind of. 😉

That said, the world of art and entertainment is loaded with trash and treasure (not equal parts, unfortunately), and the purpose of this list is an ego-driven bid to add to the trash in everyone’s favorite medium: television. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who boasts about not owning a TV because it’s beneath me—hardly an unimpeachable stance. No, I’m the kind of guy who brags about watching mostly the dregs of what television has to offer. Continually and almost exclusively.

And I want to add more, so here are ten television pitches not likely to be greenlighted:

First pitch

A little drama called, Janitors. It’s one of those day-in-the-life pieces centering on the most glamorous of career choices: the custodial arts (obligatory Half-Baked reference). But no high drama embellished to affect here. These people’s lives are real. Average. Whole scenes dedicated to unfunny family spats over real shit, unsexy sex scenes, shit-can reading on the job. Perfect for Showtime or HBO.

Second pitch

A game-show called, Who Wants to Mortgage their Future? A trivia game for high school students with college dreams. Winners get scholarships to good colleges, and losers are lucky if they can get loans for community college or private university equivalents. Have fun, you rubes!

Third pitch

A comedy based on Four Rooms called, Four Rooms. The film itself is a cult classic. Panned by critics and the public at large, the concept might have better luck as a show. It didn’t work that well for another Robert Rodriguez production: From Dusk ‘til Dawn, which lost me after about three episodes, but it could be gold here: a milquetoast bellhop is subjected to the whims of the sick-as-fuck guests of a once-proud-but-now-irrelevant hotel.

Fourth pitch

An animated series called, Hunter in Wonderville. It’s about a rebel, counter-cultural icon journalist—bearing a striking resemblance to that Gonzo guy—who falls down the rabbit hole into a world bereft of drugs, sex, and violence. He keeps trying to end it all, but only good things happen to him. Think the total opposite of Steadman’s illustrations. Like Winnie the Pooh shit.

Fifth pitch

A competition show called, So You Think You Can Rap? Sure to be derivative of every competition show before it, SYTYCR pits D list celebrities against seasoned battle rappers. Cringe worthy.

Sixth pitch

A talk show starring former Cowboy and 49er great, Charles Haley called, Charles at Large. I’m not sure of the format, but if he whips out his dick a few times while berating his guests, it’s a solid show.

Seventh pitch

A sitcom called, Family Bonds. It’s about a child actor who tries to make a comeback only to have to deal with all the people he shat on while at the top. Full disclosure: back in the day of Myspace, some friends of mine and I wrote and filmed a pilot (same title and story) for a competition. We never submitted it, but it was fun. Shout out and love to Guido and Rob.

Eighth pitch

Meta-shit referencing pitch seven called, Together Forever. A Lynchian drama about conjoined twins who run their own freak show full of “normal,” boring people.

Ninth pitch

A dramcom called, Guys. In this one, a bunch of white dudes who seem to have a lot of money but no jobs wallow in their sheltered lives. They hang with the same people, have boring problems, and are everything wrong with this country.

Tenth pitch

A “reality show” called, Artists in a Loft, Dallas. Take a bunch of artists (like, visual artists) from different cliques, put them in a trendy loft, and force them to make art together. The last one alive gets to keep the loft. None of them will be able to afford to keep it (well, maybe the trust funder with no job), but it’ll be fun seeing them undermine and snipe at one another.