We've all heard of the elevator pitch: the 10-second presentation you make to investors to try and sell your dreams. Whether that be a new gadget, or an app idea or maybe even your own novel, you need a convincing elevator pitch if you want to sell your passion project to the world.
Well, in the land of television, the pilot episode works as its own elevator pitch. It's a way for showrunners to present their idea to studios, hoping that they'll see it and buy their hard work and turn it into a mega-hit tv show.
But seeing as a pilot episode is a lot longer than 10 seconds, a studio can love your idea while finding issues in the episode as a whole. Sometimes they'll book your show with the agreement that you'll take on board their criticisms and change some things around before airing. Or they give you a second chance to pitch the idea again, reworking the pilot completely.
So that means there are dozens and dozens of unaired pilots of popular shows just existing in the world with people having no idea they're out there! While some of these unaired pilots become almost as infamous as the show itself, others stay hidden for years... until today.
10. 30 Rock - From Sketch Show To Sitcom
30 Rock was conceived in the mind of Tina Fey while she was the head writer on Saturday Night Live. She believed her experience behind the scenes was unique enough to warrant its own tv show, and boy was she right!
However, originally 30 Rock was planned to be a lot closer to SNL than it came out being. In the first pilot, the show had more of an SNL vibe, with quick flashes of scenes and more of a focus on the sketches that happen on The Girlie Show (the tv show that Fey's character works on). Another leading factor into the SNL-esc feel was the hiring of legendary SNL alum Rachel Dratch as the star of The Girlie Show.
Once the pilot was complete, Tina Fey and the other producers decided to move 30 Rock further away from Fey's previous job. They did this by focusing more on Fey's character and what she gets up to behind the scenes. They also recast Dratch's character with a more traditional sitcom actress Jane Krakowski; instead of a character actress like Dratch.
SNL fans were gutted when the apparent original conception of the show was leaked, as they felt cheated by the left turn Fey made when tinkering with the pilot.