NBC Comedy Playground: New Contest Asks Aspiring Writers to Pitch the Network's Next Hit

NBC Comedy PlaygroundHave a killer idea for a new sitcom? NBC is all ears. The network on Tuesday announced the launch of NBC Playground, a contest targeted at aspiring comedy writers looking to get their ideas on TV or the web.

RELATED | Emmy Watch: NBC, Universal Television Put Their Best Faces Forward in 2014 Campaign

The rules are simple: Applicants must submit their ideas to NBCComedyPlayground.com beginning May 1. Up to 10 finalists will be chosen, and NBC will fund each finalist to produce their pilot. Of those finalists, two winners will have their shows broadcast on NBC with an initial order of up to four episodes, not including the pilot. There’s also a possibility one or more winners will have their shows produced for NBC.com.

Winners will be chosen by a panel of well-known actors and producers, which includes Aziz Ansari, Jason Bateman, Mindy Kaling, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler.

NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke calls Playground a “bold, alternative approach” at uncovering “original comedy minds who are looking for a way to get into the television business.”

Have an idea for a sitcom, but don’t feel like going through the application process? Drop it in a comment below! (And remember, Animal Practice was already a thing, so don’t even bother.)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

71 Comments
  1. Court says:

    They require a 5-10 minute sample video to be submitted – what do you all think that entails? They’re very vague about it.

    • Nicotine says:

      From the website:
      “Submit two videos with your application.
      One should introduce yourself and showcase previous work. (5-10 minutes)
      The other is a 2 to 5 minute verbal pitch of your new comedy! (Hint: be funny.) “

      • Court says:

        Doesn’t that seem vague? I’m guessing it’s just a previously filmed work of yours, like a skit, music video, or short film.

        • benis says:

          if you can’t figure out what they want from that, then you probably should bother submitting anything. not trying to be harsh, just saying.

      • Gillian Schansinger says:

        What if You have No previous work but are Naturally Funny…and have an amazing original idea for a show?

  2. webly3 says:

    I have creative ideas to spice up the networks. However, I’m only a 15 year-old follower of everything television.

  3. Teag says:

    Ugh, I’m Canadian.

  4. MissMel says:

    I got all excited thinking this was for aspiring writers looking to break into the business but you have to be a member of the Writer’s Guild of America which essentially means you already have to be a professional writer.

    • Court says:

      Only by the final stage.

      • MissMel says:

        Yes but what are the chances if you aren’t employed as a professional writer currently you’ll just happen to get a job working for a WGA certified employer by May? Maybe if you live in New York or LA but for most of America that’s not going to happen. I’m an aspiring writer in Pennsylvania. We don’t really have a lot of show biz jobs here.

    • B says:

      I think this is to make sure accepted applicants have experience writing for a show/movie. As mentioned further down, a non WGA applicant likely doesn’t have the tools to produce a pilot

  5. Ram510 says:

    This could be a interesting show. It’s kind of a smart way for NBC to figure out what it is people want to watch since most of everything they’ve tried has failed. Which is sad because NBC used to be really successful with comedies

    • Ron says:

      I suppose “failed” is subjective. If we’re talking ratings, then yeah, their comedies don’t do well with ratings. But if we’re talking receptions, then NBC has made/makes (some, not all) critical and cult favorites, like Community, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock. With some of these shows, especially a show like Community, there’s really a niche audience base for a show like that, as compared to some of NBC’s comedies in the past like Friends, which plays to a much broader audience.

  6. Eric says:

    For a few quick seconds, my dreams had come true. I had been given my ticket to the big leagues. A chance to get my ideas out there, and become a part of the medium that I have worshipped my entire life. But then reality stepped in and reminded me that I’m Canadian. And 19. And don’t really possess any knowledge of how to go about producing a pilot, regardless of how much money NBC could have potentially given me. But those few seconds of bliss…they were glorious.

    • Babybop says:

      I felt the exact same way! I’m American, but I’m only 20 and how the hell would I produce a pilot when I can’t even legally drink? It’s a nice dream though. I have such a good idea for a show that Bryan Fuller and I would do together… Ha ha.

  7. MK204 says:

    You know it’s tempting. I wrote a very promising sitcom several years ago. I also did some comedy writing and one of my funnier lines was used by Vickie Lawrence on her show which she took total credit for. So as tempting as this is, what’s to stop these people from stealing a really good idea? I’m no longer in the industry but I was for many years and one thing I learned is that people tend to take advantage of those who are desperate for a break. I know this sounds cynical and maybe it is but it’s a warning to all the younger kids who may be vulnerable.

    Make sure you have a good lawyer before you sign on the dotted line and make sure you both read the small print.

  8. michelle says:

    very cool concept! Fox should take note, THIS is the type of show young people want to see

    • benis says:

      THIS is not a show. can no one read? they are asking people to submit idea to make a show. its not a show about people submitting show ideas.

  9. Coal says:

    I actually like the idea, I think they should also add one more stipulation that the actors cast should be new to the industry (or Tv at least). The whole concept of NBC of trying to use late 90’s early 2000’s stars to headline a show has not worked for them.

  10. Sara says:

    My inner Max Bialystock is tingling…..now off to find my old men

  11. Keith Bohanan says:

    Yenta Legal Advice.
    Yenta Legal Advice, is a show about a group of wives and girlfriends that constantly give each other horrible legal advice. They have convinced themselves that they can help others, with their online web show and pod casts. Of course the husbands are aware they are lunatics, and have bad advice, but they sort of support it? The web site explodes, and they are now “online celebrities” Now these women really think they are experts, and it goes downhill from here.

  12. This is a great opportunity for a writers, like myself. I produced a 30 minute TV Sitcom titled: Bewick and Mack. The show has airs on Comcast Cable; Public Access TV in Metro Detroit; Community Media in Troy and WHPR-TV33 in Highland Park for eight years. I’ve already got 25 episodes in the can and the show has received great reviews; awards and has been in the newspaper numerous times. i produced the show with the money that I make at my job. They say that I’m the Female Tyler Perry, and I agree, but I have been waiting for an opportunity like this, to showcase my work. Thank you NBC for showing love to the Freelance Writers. I HAVE THE MAGIC SHOW THAT NBC IS LOOKING FOR!

  13. Joseph says:

    I have a great idea for a sitcom, “The Workroom.” It follows the lives and antics of several High School teachers as they try to enlighten today’s youth. It would be filmed the way “The Office” and “Parks & Recreation” are done. I’ve taught English for 20 plus years at a large high school in North-Central PA. I’ve accumulated quite a few story-lines over the years. The show focuses more on the teachers and less on the students. Some of the stuff I’ve seen in school is absolutely hilarious.
    The show’s main character is the English teacher (of course), funny, but wise and sympathetic. He holds the cast together. Collin Hanks would be perfect for the role. The others are a diverse mix. I’d rather not give everything away, though.
    I had written an hour-long pilot I wanted to pitch to a major network–then I found out about agents and lawyers, reams of legalese and fees–and I said the heck with it. I’d like to just turn over all my ideas to the real television writers and just consult. I want to retire in 4 more years and watch the grandchildren.

  14. James Hern says:

    I have a Idea of 2 bad ass bikers that can’t do anything right nore can thay do wrong. But not by choice. “The Legend Jimmy and George”

  15. Fifty something person who has 180 credits college but dropped out to find himself.He took odd jobs and found that he knows a little about everything and gets along with everyone on a limited basis. He finds himself talking out load many times to vent.looking for attention.He Narrative is the Show as he meets Different people at his ODD JOBS.He Works with the public and is in the Spotlight at a Big Box Store for a wage that causes him to feel he is well underpaid.He Laughs as he sees the people and their Shopping Habits.People are always looking for That thing they NEVER FIND and when they find it they take it home and then try to return it.

  16. Jon Z says:

    My idea is a sitcom called “Unbiased”. The basic premise would be a news agency that was created by an aspiring media mogul whose goal is to actually present an unbiased fair reporting of the news. The cast would consist of right wing, left wing, and everything in-between wing reporters and journalists.

    Plot situations would develop between reporters in the field having conflicting opinions with the studio anchors, cameramen fighting over which protestors to feature during an event that had opposing interests in an issue present.

    The main character would be the manager of the news channel (not the aspiring media mogul who owns it) and the underlying theme to most plots would be his/her struggle to actually get his circus crew of anchors, reporters, writers and technical crew to actually produce news stories on time, but also as unbiased as possible.

    I think in a time where political angst is reaching the level of fevered pitch, such a show might provide some comic relief to the masses who are stuck between the political polar opposites, and could even poke fun at some of the tactics used by both parties to power the faithful.

  17. [iebmr[mibe[mopbe says:

    How about a wacky comedy that takes place in a veterinary clinic? And it has a squirrel monkey, and a wacky doctor and wacky technicians. It could be called “Practice of Animals”.

  18. ALR says:

    Did anyone read the fine print? NBC owns your idea & does not have to hire you to work on the show in any capacity. So what exactly is the benefit of entering this contest? So NBC can steal your idea legally????? This is a sincere question. Why on earth would anyone agree to give up all rights to their idea with no compensation? I was super excited until I read the “prize” very carefully.

    • Jon Ziegler says:

      I have screenshots of my idea comment. Maybe I could get something out of the resulting lawsuit if they steal it…..probably not.

    • Gillian Schansinger says:

      I Too Thought this was The Golden Ticket into The comic realm of Television. Being a Group Fitness Instructor for over 20 years I have seen it all and the outrageous comic antics are relatable to all ages. Everyone is either at a Sports Club or a small Gym or even outside trying to get fit and My Show IDEA would encompass all the crazy antics of a small Group of INSTRUCTORS and their wonderfully Hilarious clients and Gym members. My one liners are most amusing but who is to say if I write it , send it or video it.. someone else wouldn’t take credit for it?

  19. John Monaco says:

    Opportunist paralegal Sarah Sutton friends black sheep Tommy Clinton with the purpose of greed. Tommy is the younger, underachieving brother of Wes Clinton, one of the most prominent Lawyers in NY city. Tommy is on to Sarah’s obvious intentions, but is still willing to help her out because he has had a privaleged life and wants to give back. Tommy sees one problem pulling off this fake relationship. No one would believe a beauty like Sarah going for Tommy. Solution! Sarah goes ingognito as a plain, homely, dumpy bookworm. TOO PRETTY

    • T. Patrick Mulroe says:

      John, I thought you were submitting the idea you wrote of last winter. Thought that was an original idea. Too Pretty sounds even better–

    • Amy says:

      Ryan likes it and Ava says good idea! My question is why does she have to hide her good looks? Who is she/they hiding it from? What do they have to lose if she is discovered as being pretty? I love the idea of the beauty going undercover, just need more explanation of why. Also do they really like each other or is it just pretend?

  20. Terry Groesbeck says:

    HIT OF THE SEASON. A struggling mechanic hits it big by surprise, when a lawyer calls and tells him to be at a will reading. The name of the person he does not even recognize. Turns out his ex wife’s grandmother has passed.forgot to take him out of the will. Left him Ron White Loaded. He freaks decides not to tell anybody. He thinks he runs through dozens and dozens of scenarios that play out on screen. Put a half dozen funny melons together and this could be some funny sheot.

  21. Terry Groesbeck says:

    2nd Hot Hit. Consequences! Pick a Kramer and Kenan. Follow rabbit trails of the consequences of their actions on down the line. But they ALWAYS miss out just barely on any credit or fortune or blame for what happens.

  22. Judy Holcomb says:

    I had an idea for a sitcom called “Nearly Departed”. The basic premises is an old Victorian type house is purchased by a funeral director to be used as a funeral home. The home is already haunted by former residents of the house and a lot of the people brought there for funerals also don’t leave the world but continue to reside in the old house/funeral home. A newly hired young man who is learning the business and is in training to become a funeral director, is the center of the plot. The nearly departed folks appear only to him and make his life miserable but also funny and interesting.

  23. This is a web series I wrote, co-directed and star in. It’s called KNOCKING ON DOORS. http://goo.gl/8DjPA5 is the link to the YouTube channel. My goal is to expand it into a television series. Enjoy!

  24. MikeMod says:

    I’ve considered submitting my copyrighted book, “At Your Service Copiers,” to the NBC playground but I’m a bit put off by the legal jargon. Giving up the right to legally dispute should they just happen to be creating a sitcom similar to mine is a bit scary to a newbie like myself. Would need legal counsel before considering it.

  25. Dave Schechtman says:

    SUPERGIRLS: what is the dating life like for women who used to date superheroes? Is Vicki Vale supposed to be impressed by some guy who is into extreme sports? She dated BATMAN!

    **DEAR NBC– some of us DONT have previous work available to upload!! Get with the times and just ask for LINKS! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k9UKzz0U70

  26. Adaisa Ortizbrown says:

    CNA’S a comedy about two Certified Nurses Assistants straight out of school thrown into a nursing enviroment where wired funny things happens. One Cna has a family works full time married with five kids. The other Cna is single out there trying to find love in all the wrong places always doing crazy funny things. They work together and become best friends while they experience the life of a Cna.
    There’ shows about dr, lawyers and nurses but none about CNA’S. We work in the backround of hospitals and nursing homes and other places doing pt care. Crazy things happen all the time I think this is a untapped idea.
    I have great ideas because i’ve been a cna for 14 years no previous experience writing sitcoms but i love writing.

  27. kevin says:

    I think “Steele Jones – On Hard Drugs” should be made into a sitcom, it’s kickstarter campaign looked funny, go look at it for yourself you judge

  28. edward shotten says:

    I feel like all these contests are rigged/industry buddies etc. – unfortunately. I have several great ideas at various levels of development. One I even have a rough cut of a full pilot episode but I’m in the midwest. And honestly – I just want to sell my idea. I don’t want to get caught up in self-promo crap. Where can a guy go to get 30seconds of someone’s ear that has connections?

  29. Javier says:

    A mix of “Seinfeld” and “The Big Bang Theory”, the two biggest shows of the last two decades. I guaranty twenty million viewers by the end of the first season.
    It´s called the “Video Store”. It deals with two guys who run a video store, the girlfriend of one of them and a friend who mostly hangs around and is obsessed with sci-fi movies. These guys are so obsessed with movies, one speaks mostly in movie quotes and dialogue from famous movies. The friend who shows up occasionally ala Kramer only speaks in star wars dialogue and quotes Darth Vader when he´s up to something bad. These guys don’t care about politics or the environment, just going to the latest major movie. The girlfriend isn’t a big fan of the movies. She´s into books, dancing and singing. The only movies she enjoys are chick flicks. There are dozens of crazy and funny scenarios, both inside and outside the store. Priceless stuff!
    NBC: contact me.

  30. Jill Randall says:

    I am a writer/producer in Kona Hawaii and I was initially interested in pitching an original comedy I have been working on until I read in your contract that your finalists are required to be part of the WGA union. I am non-union and wish to stay that way. You are introducing this as a search for new talented comedy writers, but the requirements listed for WGA membership are clearly for established writers with prior experience and employment in the industry. If NBC dropped this as a contest rule, you may actually have some great original concepts like mine come your way. #talentedbutdisappointed

  31. Aloha! My name is Diamond Mike Allen.
    I have been trying to down load my information for the next big comedy hit
    “WHY NOT ME? VINCE!” to the NBC Playground web site with no luck.
    CAN ANY BODY HELP ME!

  32. tim dillard says:

    Can someone tell me if there is time to submit an application for the sitcom ? I have a pitch:

  33. charles " corky " kelly says:

    First , my new friends , ( i hope ) truth be told , I personally don’t think I’m all that funny . I’m more of a ( for good/bad ) shake ur head at kinda feller . See , the first episode (or which ep. powers that be deem ) I should like to take the panel members , 6 of my friends , ( not one Knows who the others are ) and approximately 5,000 selected others into The GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS together . been working on that one for sometime now . completely doable . even gots me a coupla fail safes . just has to do w my nickname . thanx for taking the time . hope ive piqued ur int. even slightly .

  34. Ms. Jackson here of She Smiles Entertainment! This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for! I have the perfect idea for a sitcom. I’ve been running a play series for the past 7 years now entitled Phazes of a Womans soul! And it has it ALL!! Comedy! Drama! Suspense! The perfect addition to the network! I’ve been told for years that it should/could be a sitcom or a movie. Well, now is the time and we’re ready!!! I’ve been called the female Tyler Perry enough to be confident that my work is dynamic! We love to well rounded comedy and making people laugh. Anything from The Cosby Show, to The Martin Lawrence Show, to The Office and many more, comedy comes in every spectrum of the word. WE’RE READY!!!
    Here are some youtube clips –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUdKP_jxNF0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG8Ru-sKQaE

  35. Here’s my idea for the next BIG TV comedy… PO Box, a comedy from the perspective of a postal inspector. People mail body parts, biological threats, drugs (legal and illegal), pets, letters to Santa, stolen artifacts, specimens, etc. Some mail has taken 40 years to reach its recipient. Mail can be heart warming, scary, inspiring, cute and dangerous. It’s all in the delivery. Get it! The delivery… OK. Well… that’s my idea.

  36. james smith says:

    There is a guy from Ohio that has created the next great sitcom, if nbc gives him a look, it will be huge!!

  37. Keti Kamalani says:

    Waikiki Pau (sounds like pow)! Pau means the end and Pau street in Waikiki is filled with small month to month rental units. I use to manage 3 buildings there in which new arrivals and those returning hope to Oahu could start over. A sitcom of this street could blend reality TV with guest comedy writers every week would be a new crazy adventure

  38. asgregory says:

    is there any numeric relationship to quality of the show… does shows on channel 2 mean they suck… and what the about 1… is that the reason Three Dog Nigh burn outs lyrics “one is the loneliest number…”

  39. Why does this not work? says:

    The site doesn’t seem to work, meaning it won’t allow me to upload video or any of the other requirements it’s asked for. Is anyone else having trouble with the upload process?

  40. Ron Maranian says:

    “Off Season” a sports sitcom situated in and around the Muscle Arms Apartments in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The super, David Walker, is a wheelchair athlete that doesn’t waste a minute feeling sorry for himself. Between painting and maintaining the building by himself, he is an inspiration to everyone.
    Ahkeem Taylor, an inner city sprinter looking for someone to trust, so sarcasm is his specialty.
    There is a 15 year old female recovering alcoholic, Annie Holloway, a potential world class gymnast, sent there by court order, as an alternative to jail, who is just trying to be a girl.
    Julie Walker, David’s wife, a physical therapist, yoga instructor and life coach, who sees the glass as always completely full.
    Randy Wright, a 36 year old been there, done that, professional football player trying to get another season out of his body..

  41. Mary Freden says:

    I grew up in a Irish Catholic family of 9 kids in the 60’s and 70’s. I have loads of funny stories. My comedy is similar to Wonder Years with a little more spice.

  42. Comedy Bytes ( with the i dotted) Comedy bites..
    Outa work comedians and child stars looki.g for work , sometimes competing for auditions
    The OH BROTHER HOUSE

    In house skit competitions. Exposure for them AND what ever show signs them !!

  43. #SHERIFFDOODLE #SHOW #TWITTER #BANG

    • kim012 says:

      My offer:

      blockbuster Contemporary script “phantasmagoria”
      in contemporary issue: can Democracy and Islam live together?

      “Phantasmagoria”(style:M.A.S.H/Dr Strangelove-catch 22).

      Also great for: Animation/ cartoons/ comics/ web series/ graphic novel/video games

      Screenplay for feature film :94 pages
      Screenplay for feature film:142 pages
      Screenplay for TV Series:,322 pages
      Genre: Comedy (anti-war futuristic political satire)
      Log line
      Mad politicians and a hallucinated war!
      A military confrontation between democratic and Islamic forces may lead the world to final destruction!

  44. Laura D'Orsi says:

    Television series I have already created with my team and Mr Wright of the famous Wright Brothers family…. ( Show that follows him in the hanger , with the FAA , White House convo’s, Nascar days, at his house and in the office and of course in Flight ) also follows Fortune 1000
    companies and him as they journey the travels of corporate jet lifestyle.

    A nobel man with a story of a legend.

    • keti Kamalani says:

      WAIKIKI PAU (say “pow”) – is street in Waikiki packed full of apartments. Pau also means “the end” End of day “Pau hana” = after work. Each week a guest comedian writes and stars in his own episode! They can take this anywhwere you want it. You can hold a few key characters and go to a different apartment each each week. It will be a Saturday night live, threes company, that is always fresh. Connecting you with Hawaii, you could even let a some local comedians do an episode from time to time!

  45. give me one chance becouse i can doing singing and comedy

  46. Bruce Perreault says:

    I have an idea for a new comedy sitcom! It’s about a french NHL player who’s forced to retire because he’s just plain crazy! He decides to live in a major U.S. city! The kicker for the sitcom is he inherits a vast fortune from a high society uncle! The people in this rich circle are forced to put up with him, because his uncle owned everything in their circle, banks, work, social clubs! This character would have to have an accent and mannerisms similar to Peter Sellers Clouseau! This character also has an alter ego, that is totally different from the way he normally is! This would give you a lot more room for writing! Kind of like Latka on Taxi! I know this concept would work, and there is so much room to branch out! I thank you for your time and hope that this works out for both of us!

  47. John McCullough says:

    Have an idea that no network has done. I don’t like the idea posting it cause anyone can steal it. If you’re able to contacts feel free to do so (913)530-7327. The only answer I’m looking for is someone to say not a good idea, but they won’t I’m confident it’s one of the best ideas.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,778 other followers