This is not entirely true. To be fair, some of them just have a pilot. But they are all very, very good pilots — kind of like Sex and the City meets Entourage — and they all have a very, very well-connected friend. None of them would be doing this if they weren’t really confident that they could get this thing sold. Really.
I have neither a screenplay nor a pilot. I’m not much of a writer. What I do have is a limitless supply of solid-gold reality show pitches. My latest is truly a gem: America’s Next Top Poet. Here’s my vision: you scour the country for 15 aspiring poets. These are people who honestly, as adults, will answer the question “What do you do?” by speaking — aloud — the words “I’m a poet.” I’m pretty sure you could put these people in a house in the Valley with video cameras and leave it at that, and you have a fairly solid mid-season replacement. But let’s take it a step farther and give them weekly poetry-related tasks. You leave them in a room alone with a rusty, dripping sink and let them write a poem about it. Or you van them all to Six Flags (they drive there to everyone’s favorite stock footage of the 405 meeting Sunset), stick them on a rollercoaster with a pen and pad and make them write a poem while they’re on the ride. You host a spelling bee. You leave them alone with refrigerator poetry magnets and a refrigerator. Even better — leave all of them alone together with a fixed set of magnets and 15 refrigerators. They can fight over who grabs “parallax” and “gauche” first. They all have blatantly self-appointed names that stretch the boundaries of language and normalcy more so than their poetry ever could — names like Phurie and Djordj and Seaszhell — and they meet weekly for elimination ceremonies at the Getty gardens. They read their poetry and they argue with one another over who deserves to go home and why. They say things like “anapest” and “trope” and “enjambment” and “lying whore;” they breach alliances. They are all dressed inanely — quilted skirts and bike helmets and AC/DC tees — and you’ve assembled some panel of utterly unknown “professional poets” to kick one of them off each week. The winner gets $100,000 (to kick-start their poetry “career”) and some series of poems run in The Atlantic. Jeff Goldblum hosts. You can’t lose.
My contact info is on the blog.