Television

'Will & Grace' star Sean Hayes comes up with comedy themed reality concept

MUMBAI: The star of US broadcaster NBC's sitcom Will And Grace Sean Hayes and his producing partner Todd Milliner have come up with a unique concept for a reality show.

Situation: Comedy is an eight-episode reality competition series about the making of a sitcom pilot

Viewers of American cable network Bravo which is owned and operated by NBC Universal will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of national television as neophyte writers earn the opportunity to produce and sell a sitcom. Hoewver the eavesdropping audience will give the final thumbs-up by choosing the winning entry when they vote online via America Oonline (AOL). The show will simulcast on Bravo and on AOL from 26 July 2005.

The producers of Situation: Comedy scoured the US looking for the hottest undiscovered writing talent at colleges, in comedy theater groups and even writing classes. Each candidate submitted an original sitcom script. the producers received over 10,000 scripts.

After producers and experienced show-runners Stan Zimmerman Gilmore Girls and Maxine Lapiduss Roseanne narrowed the field to five semi-finalists, the lucky five writers were flown to Los Angeles, where they were thrown into the deep end of the creative pitching pool. They submitted their ideas to NBC network executives who green-lighted two of the scripts to go into production as 15-minute presentations.

The final two "wannabe" writers (or writing teams) were thrust immediately into the high-energy, high-stress world of television production. Viewers will be with them as they meet their staffs and find that they have to share many of their key staffers. Audiences will watch the entire process through casting, set design, rewrites, rehearsals, taping and post-production. In the end, they will see each completed presentation and can vote online for the sitcom they believe should get a shot for broadcast on television.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and exclusive representation for one year with a major Hollywood talent agency to further help launch a successful writing career in film or television.

It remains to be seen as to whether this initiative will give the once hot sitcom genre a shot in the arm.

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