Part-time Aspenite has high hopes for fictionalized reality TV show
October 21, 2004
You won’t believe the lengths one guy is going to to get his television show about Aspen on the air.Greg Simmons, a part-time local, has been promoting his concept for “Aspen, the series” for the past several years. He’s had stage readings of the pilot episode read at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen for the past two years.So far he has been continually rebuffed by producers.”I’m trying to get a deal with a major production company to get it picked up, made into a pilot and then a series,” Simmons said. “But I’ve learned that it’s a very difficult process, especially with reality television taking over the airwaves. What used to be a very protected, small world of comedy television has gotten even tighter.”So what did Simmons do? He’s decided to create a show called “Creating America’s Next Hit Television Show,” where people pitch their concepts for TV shows, and with a little audience participation and voting, ideally the country’s next runaway show is born.
And the first program to be pitched on “Next Hit Show” is – you guessed it – “Aspen, the series.”If you think that just creating your own reality TV series in order to get your scripted show produced is confusing, you haven’t heard it all yet.Essentially, it’s a show about a millionaire investment banker who lives in Aspen, and whose supermodel girlfriend gives him his own reality show for his 40th birthday.Huh?Essentially, if “Aspen” is ever made, it means you’ll be watching a show about a man who lives in a Red Mountain mansion with a group of other people who are taking part in a reality show about what it’s like to live in Aspen. A sitcom about a fictionalized reality show. Just when you thought you’d seen it all.But first you have to watch the show about “Aspen, the series” and its attempts to get produced and put on television.
Simmons wants a number of things to happen as a result of this most recent attempt to get “Aspen” on the air – his show based here would get produced, and “Next Hit Show” would become a television staple, giving a number of struggling television writers a chance at getting their shows on the air. “Hopefully the end result is enough to generate a buzz about ‘Aspen, the series’ and get a following via this reality show,” Simmons said. “If people get involved they’ll take ownership of this and care about the project, and it seems like a network would be very interested in making a series that already has a fan base.”The one-hour episodes of “Next Hit Show” would start with the viewing audience choosing a show from different writers’ pitches. Casting calls, music scores and wardrobe would also be voted on.”‘Next Hit Show’ is an interactive experience about what it’s like to be producer, director and program executive,” Simmons said. “The audience watching the show, through multiple choice questions and essays, will say what they will about different elements.”But for now, Simmons’ fan base will have to come from viewers who are watching TV in the wee hours. To get “Creating America’s Next Hit Television Show” on the air, Simmons and his partners bought air time on Comedy Central and Spike TV at 6:30 and 3 a.m., respectively. The show will show up as paid programming, or infomercials, in TV listings, a method of airing the show that Simmons refers to as circumventing the “Hollywood hustle” of delays and rewrites.
The first “Next Hit Show” aired on Saturday, and five other episodes are planned to air on the next five Saturdays.Viewers participate in the show by visiting http://www.nexthitshow.com and provide feedback for aspects of the show such as story and characters. As incentive, a viewer with creative feedback can win prizes, including a five-star weekend in Aspen, $10,000 for Aspen or Colorado locals, a position as a writer on “Next Hit Show” or a position as a writer for “Aspen, the series.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org