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NYC TV Week: Execs' Keys to Series Success

The realities of scripted TV show pitching, evaluating and promoting were shared with The Content Show attendees during a lively opening panel that followed a keynote conversation with Donny Deutsch Wednesday.

Pearlena Igbokwe, executive VP of drama development for NBC Entertainment, had a popularly-tweeted comment when she estimated she heard 400 show pitches from July to October yearly. Of those, perhaps 50 scripts are ordered into development, eight shows get pilot orders and four get series orders. “It’s quite a lottery,” she said.

Igbokwe, a former Showtime content executive, said broadcast networks are under competitive pressure to produce shows that don’t feel like traditional network fare, and don’t have the luxury some streamed series seem to have of audiences watching four or five episodes before deciding they like a show. NBC needs “eyepopping” first, second and third episodes “because every week you need to earn the viewer’s attention.”

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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.