For decades, new TV shows were the product of a rigid Hollywood formula: Networks would typically order up pilot scripts in October and summon a pool of established writers to deliver them in December. After shooting the first pilot episodes by April, the networks would decide which shows to buy in May and then start full-scale production for the important fall TV season launch.
But broadcast executives are increasingly blaming this old methodology for the lack of blockbuster new programs, particularly sitcoms. For the first time in years, they are reaching well beyond the time-worn system for original content.
Fox, for instance, has teamed up with the University of California, Los Angeles, to offer a course called