Help wanted: Partners for Peacock programs

Pssst — wanna buy a drama pilot? Call NBC.

As part of the industrywide effort to trim costs, the Peacock and its NBC Studios arm are looking to bring in additional production partners for several of their hourlong fall 2002 projects. Web has sent several scripts to studios to see whether they would be interested in coming on board.

In the past, co-productions resulted when another studio had a piece of talent a network wanted or when a net forced itself on to the pilot in order to share the backend profits.

With drama costs escalating, NBC Studios now wants to find partners on projects it currently owns outright. And in an unusual step, NBC is also looking for partners on pilots that are already co-productions — such as “Mister Sterling,” the D.C. drama that’s a joint production of Studios USA and NBC Studios.

NBC execs said no deals are close, and it’s still possible no deals will happen at all to reduce the Peacock’s drama investment.

“This is the time of year we look at the amount of production we have and examine every kind of financing — from 100% to 50% to less,” said NBC Studios prexy Ted Harbert, adding that the quality of the net’s development is such that “the projects the network has picked up are worth investing in.”

Or, as another NBC insider said, “We’re exploring everything and have committed to nothing.”

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