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August 30, 2015

Will Jon Stewart's failed pilot get a new life on YouTube?

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 27th 2007 9:25PM
Three StrikesRemember the announcement from last summer that Comedy Central was going to pick up a Jon Stewart-produced pilot called Three Strikes? Well, it looks like Comedy Central has seen the pilot and decided to pass on the show, which follows an independent minor league team full of major league rejects. But in this world of viral video, pilots never die; they just get split into three parts and posted on YouTube, that's what. The pilot was "leaked" onto the service, and you can see all three parts right now, at least before Viacom orders YouTube to take it down.

Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times spoke to the show's writers, Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, about the "second life" phenomenon failed pilots experience these days. They have nothing but good things to say about their experience with Comedy Central, but both the writers and Goldstein wonder what the future holds for networks now that failed pilots like this one and Nobody's Watching have found an audience online.

Watching the videos, I can see why Comedy Central passed on it. It's not terrible, but it's not overly funny either. All of its humor lies in raunch -- the episode is about the team taking blind kids on a sex boat ride -- and too many bleeped-out words distract the viewer's attention. But, CC has approved worse shows, and Three Strikes had potential to become a decent cable sitcom if given the chance. In other words, the network could have gone either way on it, and decided to let it go.

Three Strikes is an interesting case study of how much of a crapshoot TV is. You can have a lot of TV experience, as Gregory and Hyuck have, and have a big name like Jon Stewart behind a project, and still get turned down. That's probably the reason why you'll see more failed pilots on YouTube and other services in the near future.

[via TV Tattle]

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What's curious is that the technological infrastructure is in place for every network to easily release its pilots to the masses and see what gets significant responses. There's no sense in continuing to simply throw things against a wall to see what sticks.

I'm not saying it turn into a reality competition where America votes (because America, as I'm sure we all can agree, is frequently idiotic in its decisions), but getting the pilots out to the masses will elicit some sort of response that can be measured by the networks against their own interior testing.

This isn't rocket science... or at least it shouldn't be.

March 28 2007 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I tried watching, but after the first part I didn't even want to be bothered with the others.

March 28 2007 at 1:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Matt B: I was totally with you until you trashed "Dog Bites Man," which I thought was hilarious.


March 28 2007 at 12:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, basically your "Major League -- the TV Series"
I can see why it was passed over. No chemistry, and the lead character looks to be unredeemable. Hell, the premise of the show is that they can't get out, they're all unredeemable, so what we're watching is basically Baseball Hell.

Yes, YouTube and the YouTube clones is the place to get your creative message out. But like Lonelygirl15 has proved, you can get only so popular on the web. After that, you have to follow that up with your message. Or, in the case of this and all TV pilots, you have to have a hook or the beginnings of a story arc.

Three actors stood out. The waitress, the sleezeball, and of course, the mascot.

Re: the mascot. Watch the JackInTheBox commercials. Note the changing smile on Jack's face. Do that with your mascot for laughs.

March 27 2007 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


If memory serves correctly, wasn't there some classic movies in the late 80's staring Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes and others depicting the same exact concept here??

Of course, no one has ever mistaken John Stewart for being an original thinker, but for the love of GOd, leave MAjor LEague, Bull Durham etc... alone. CC executives have restored my faith in their network, after green lighting such shit as "halfway home" and "Dog bites Man"

March 27 2007 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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