Send Me Your Pitches: HDNet's Cuban Wants Original Ideas

Contrarian HDNet chief Mark Cuban says he's tired of the copycat MO that has infused the TV business, in which an "American Idol" or "Apprentice" spawns a host of knockoffs. So he's looking for original ideas to come his way, via his blog.

Cuban says he "would love" to cut out agent and other development fees by picking up a newfangled "homemade" show pitched on his blog. That's why he's asking amateur auteurs to toss him fresh ideas at (His site's name is derived from his ownership of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, although it just as easily could refer to his anti-Establishment leanings.)

His all-high-def channel--which features the NHL, NASCAR and unscripted programming with personalities ranging from Dennis Rodman to Dan Rather--offers wide latitude for concepts.

"One of the most irritating and time-wasting jobs at HDNet is listening to, or reading, pitch ideas for new shows," he wrote last week. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the idea is derivative of something that has already being done, or something so obvious it's an insult that they are pitching it.



"I don't need to be pitched another cooking, poker, pimp my whatever or "American Idol" knockoff, nor do I want to hear another 'compete for a Mavs roster spot' or 'business plan competition idea.' "

In the days following his "Wanted - New TV Show Ideas" post, there have been some 600-plus concoctions for Cuban to peruse.

A sample:

-- "A medieval-based weekly drama with knights, magicians and truly good and evil characters."

-- "I would propose teaming up with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to produce a six-to-eight episode series on the ins-and-outs of what it takes to put on a three-ring circus show."

There are also many ideas that don't exactly meet the originality test.

Cuban's open-door policy didn't come without a bit of hucksterism: "[Doing your] homework about HDNet will help you. Being a regular viewer, as I know many of you are, will help you even more," he wrote to potential pitchers.

He said his aim is to "write a post about how we are developing, or have picked up, a show based on a comment posted to the blog. Somebody give me a reason!"

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