U.S. networks, desperate to save money on sitcom pilots, might take a cue from DLT Entertainment, producer of the golden oldie “Three’s Company” and the long-running British sitcoms “My Family” and “As Time Goes By.”
Don Taffner Jr., whose father founded DLT, is pitching sitcoms via table readings of pilot scripts by professional actors. Taffner invites network decisionmakers to what becomes, in effect, a live rehearsal.
The actors — who may or may not eventually be cast if the pilot goes to series –rehearse the dialogue in advance.
Taffner says execs of the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV all separately attended readings of a comedy authored by Will Schifrin and Jordan Hawley, two American sitcom writers who adapted their script with British auds in mind.
Taffner says ITV was impressed enough to start negotiations for a full-fledged series.
He also has couple of sitcom scripts he’s prepared to present similarly, live, in Los Angeles for American networks, both broadcast and cable.
“Of course, I could just send the script to the networks, but it would be one of 30 scripts sitting on some executive’s desk,” Taffner says.