Think you can write a better sitcom than FX’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia? You have your chance.
In collaboration with social Web site Myspace.com, FX is proffering $50,000 and a future slot on its schedule to the user who posts the best idea for an original series, according to president of entertainment John Landgraf, who touts the sitcom contest in a comedic promo currently airing on the service.
FX joins cable outlets like Food Network and Travel Channel, which are affording viewers a voice in shaping on-air content. FX executive vice president of marketing Stephanie Gibbons said the move is also a nod to the popularity of viewer-generated content on Web sites like myspace.com, which like FX is owned by News Corp., and youtube.com.
“You have a generation that is not going through the standard channels: They’re generating their own content and putting it directly out there for people to respond to,” she said.
The winning pilot will air during the final episode of the sophomore series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, whose producer, Rob McElhenny, made his show’s pilot for $200.
“We really find that model exciting and this was a great opportunity for us to facilitate that process and get viewers engaged in a comedy that was created in that very same way,” she said.
At press time last Thursday afternoon, 355 entries had been posted to the site (www.myspace.com/sunnyfx) since the promotion began May 22 Along with the Landgraf spot, Gibbons said the site also features a 15-minute “documentary” that includes the initial Sunny pilot, the show’s producers discussing the pitch process and the show’s creation.
After narrowing down the field, the network, which is running the promotion through June 19, will air the top five user-generated clips between breaks during Sunny’s second-season premiere on June 29. The following week, FX will choose the winner. Pilot segments are slated to air during Sunny’s season finale.
“There’s a lot of room for variety,” Gibbons said. “It enables us to create an aggregate site where Sunny is sponsoring this content and will also serve as a great place for people to experience what’s out there on the comedy front.”