Sobering stats

The other day I was reading an interview with CBS’s Nina Tassler (in Bostonia, Boston University’s alumni magazine). Tassler, who used to be the head of drama development, has been the network’s entertainment president since 2004. Much of the interview discussed the process of planning the 2007 season, and the numbers involved are rather daunting, especially if you’re someone trying to get your show into the schedule:

300 to 400: the number of pitches Tassler will hear from July through October

60: the number of pitches (30 dramas, 30 comedies) that get the go-ahead to be developed into scripts for the perusal of Tassler and others.

20-27: the number of pilots, on average, that are cast and filmed. Some of these — the exact number depends on quality and available timeslots — will make it into the schedule.

Here’s one more number: 4. That’s the number of new shows CBS added for 2006. Not great odds, but then again the occasional show slips through and becomes a surprise hit. Case A: in 1999, Tassler had already bought all the scripts she planned for the 2000 season, but was asked to hear one more pitch, and immediately took it. If she hadn’t, CSI and its spinoffs would be on another network, and Tassler probably would be too.

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