With the writers' minds on hold, TV development executives are looking high and low for any scrap of new idea or half-baked TV show that can be revived. For example, NBC is bringing back "The Apprentice" -- celebrity version -- as well as a tossed-off TV series, now-recent Internet series to prime-time airwaves.
One thing for sure: Development season is now officially open But it'll be unlike anything TV executives are used to seeing. Got a TV idea -- any idea? Stephen McPherson, Kevin Reilly, Ben Silverman, and Nina Tassler will be awaiting your phone call.
This is just the environment for something strange to happen -- no rules, no research, just lighting on a backlot -- or someone's back office. (I'm thinking a politically incorrect show with an all-beautiful, all nasty female cast who works in a hyped-up coffee shop.)
Perhaps "Quarterlife" -- a show given the heave-ho by network development teams, now coming to NBC after an initial Internet run -- could become that big show. "Quarterlife," from TV veterans Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, is appropriately enough about Web creative twentysomethings.
Imagine if "The Apprentice" rockets back to stardom now with all those celebrities - a kind of new "Dancing with the Stars" with ledger sheets. Or, fantasize that a new Web series will finally turn NBC around.
While issues of the TV writers' strike and commercial ratings have dominated the headlines this season so far, we've been missing the real question: What would happen if a new, unexpected hit didn't come out of the old woodwork? It would breathe some air into the old axiom that experts really can't tell what works.
Is there a real revolution coming - or just more of the same? Give thanks this Thanksgiving for some crazy TV show with no chance in the world.