Saturday, May 23, 2009


A new round of themes-in-progress are detailed below and we're coming
to you for story pitches, thoughts and suggestions for our upcoming

How this process works: When you send in a story idea to me, I'll
respond with a generic email letting you know that I received your
pitch and that I've read it. I promise. I read every pitch. (I
won't send you the auto response until I've read your pitch so expect
a day or two delay sometimes to get that email.) If we think the
pitch is right for us, or if we need more information from you, I'll
send you another email asking for more info on the story or letting
you know we'd like to commission the story. But if you don't hear back
from us within two weeks, beyond the initial auto-reply email, it
means the story just isn't right for us or for the needs of that
particular show. The idea of doing it this way is just to get through
pitches and get back to all of you contributors a little more quickly.

Like always, these themes are shows we're actively pursuing right now
but we're always on the lookout for new stories or ideas. So if
you've got a story that you think would work especially well for us
but doesn't fit a specific theme listed below, please send it along

Thanks so much for your pitches. All of us here are very appreciative.



ORIGIN STORY: This show is coming up in about a month so if you've got
an idea, you might want to get in touch pretty soon. Basically, we're
looking for stories about beginnings - or, rather, stories about the
story of the beginning. Creation myth stories would work well for
this show. But also true stories, maybe, about a little known or
surprising or unexpected beginning. We're working on one story about
a man who is trying to set the record straight about his career
achievements, including but not limited to, writing the "It Takes a
Licking and Keeps on Ticking" slogan, inventing thumb-wrestling and
popularizing the eating of shrimp in the New York Metropolitan region.
 We've also got a story about corporate creation myths. A story we'd
love would be where the origin story itself is almost more important
than the actual thing it spawned. If just the tale of
how-we-got-started is too good to let the thing fail. Historical
stories would also be great for this show. As you can see, we're
pretty open to anything.

THE FALL GUY: We're looking for stories about people who take the
brunt of the abuse, usually undeserved. We're working on one story
about federal indictments against mortgage fraudsters and examining
who gets charged and, tellingly, who doesn't. Another story is a much
smaller one where a lowest-on-the-totem-pole office worker tries to
hire someone even lower. Stories that would be great for this show,
too, would be stories of patsies or dupes, taking the blame for
someone else's crime or actions. Maybe a story about trying to
manufacture a scapegoat? Using a person to make an example of

DETROIT: We're putting together a show about the fall-and-fall of the
American auto industry. We're trying to answer bigger and more
complicated questions: Who can we blame? And smaller, more concrete
questions: what happens in Central Michigan during a summer furlough?
Other questions: are American cars any good? Is the demise of the
auto industry such a bad thing? How many people really are being
affected? If you've got more questions for us or thoughts on this
show about under-reported or unexpected stories out of Detroit in the
last ten years, please let us know.

TO PROVE A POINT: After a fight with his father ends with the father
yelling "and I bought that car!" a grown son decides to take his wife
and kids on a 10 hour trek walking back to their home. The father is
waiting for them when they finally get home and the father and son
immediately start up their fight all over again. We're looking for
more stories about going to extremes to prove a point. Stories about
making illogical decisions or cutting off a nose to spite a face,
would work well for this show. Even better, though, would be a story
about actually making a really brilliant move fueled entirely out of
revenge or malice or pride. We'd also love a story that weighs the
pros and cons of a decision, where the point to prove is actually
really important and does justify a seemingly extreme decision or

FRENEMIES: Our own version of US WEEKLY. We are a little worried
about the 2007-ness of this theme but, on the other hand, we can't
help ourselves. We love frenemy stories because a frenemy is the
worst kind of nemesis to have - are they entirely bad and full of
hate? Or is there a part of them that really still is our friend?
We're working on one story about the FBI's friendly overtures to
certain Muslim groups in the last few years and the, of course,
ulterior motives both sides had in the arrangement. Personal stories
would work really well for this show - stories about friends or family
members who seem to give with one hand and backstab with the other. A
story from an admitted frenemy would be nice here, too. Maybe a
corporate frenemy story?

THE FINE PRINT: For this show, we'd like stories that more literally
take place in the fine print - in a legal contract or user agreement
or credit card application. But we're also open to stories that live
in a sort of metaphorical "fine print" - where there was, maybe, an
implicit agreement or understanding that wasn't really apparent to
either one or both parties. The literal stories can be about legal
nightmares or binding arbitration or fighting with a corporate giant.
For other stories, though, maybe they could be about sort of willfully
overlooking details or circumstances that later turn out to be

Julie Snyder
Senior Producer
153 West 27th Street Suite 1104
New York NY 10001
(212) 624-5012

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