NBC has enlisted some of its biggest stars and showrunners to help the network find undiscovered comedy talent. The campaign, dubbed the "NBC Comedy Playground," will ultimately lead to two winners who will then develop original series with an eye towards airing in summer 2015.
The "NBC Comedy Playground" advisory board includes Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Robert Carlock (30 Rock), Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Jason Katims (About a Boy), Josh Lieb (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), Eva Longoria (Devious Maids), Adam McKay (Funny or Die), Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers), Todd Milliner (Hollywood Game Night), Will Packer (Ride Along), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Craig Robinson (The Office), Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live), Mike Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and Mike Shoemaker (Late Night with Seth Meyers).
Aspiring comedy writers will be asked to submit video samples and pitches at the "NBC Comedy Playground" website starting May 1. Up to 10 finalists will be chosen, and each one will produce a full pilot presentation to be funded by NBC. The two winners chosen by the advisory board (with input from network executives) will eventually see their shows air on NBC. But even finalists not chosen will have their pilot presentations posted online, where the public will vote for which one might be developed as a digital show.
The "NBC Comedy Playground" was announced Tuesday by NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. "We are taking a bold, alternative approach in what we hope will uncover original comedy minds who are looking for a way to get into the television business," Salke says. "We love that an incredible A-list roster of producers, writers and performers have jumped in to help us find that untapped talent."