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What if TV Networks Aired All Their Pilots?

In Hollywood, a lot of people make a good living by making TV pilots that never end up on the air. (There’s also a strong market for writing film scripts that are never turned into films.) According to Variety, roughly one-third of pilots end up on the air; here’s a primer about the process. With each pilot costing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, that’s a lot of money spent so that a handful of TV executives can give something a thumbs-down and consign it to the trash.
A recent Times blog post carried news of the departure of Stephen McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment. One commenter on the post, Benny F. from New York, wrote this:

i wish networks would televise all their pilots and let viewers really pick them.

Why not indeed?
What if a network devoted one week, maybe in early summertime, to airing all its pilots for the fall season, with viewers voting on their favorites? You turn your otherwise failed pilots into content for a weeklong American Idol-style competition, and come away with a sense of what the public might like to watch, as opposed to the shows that a few TV executives thinks the public will like.