Kevin Spacey on TV Pilots and Startup MVP’s

When Kevin Spacey and the House of Cards team pitched the idea for their show to every major network, the networks were all interested but required a pilot which is the norm for American networks.

House of Cards wanted to create a sophisticated story with complicated characters that would establish itself over time. A series that begins with a pilot must establish chartacters quickly, reveal cliffhangers quickly and prove themselves within forty-five minutes. A pilot is a ‘minimal viable product’ by startup jargon.  The point made here is that many great stories will not reveal themselves in a short period of time and that both methods work for different scenarios. If we only allow tv shows that make pilots and startups that make MVP’s to progress to the next step, we are going to miss some blockbuster hits.

“They (audience) want stories. They’re dying for them. They are rooting for us to give them the right thing, and they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus, and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, facebook, make fan pages, silly gifs and god knows what else about it. They will engage with it, with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. All we have to do is give it to them.”

“I hate television, I hate it as much as peanuts. But I just can’t stop eating peanuts.”

Orson Wells