NBC is hoping several hundred thousand YouTube fans can't be wrong, rescuing the discarded pilot "Nobody's Watching" from oblivion with an eye toward eventually putting it on the air.
The show, originally developed for The WB by "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, died a somewhat surprising death at the 2005 upfronts after having a lot positive buzz during its development. That would have been the end of things in most cases.
However, the pilot was posted on viral-video site YouTube in June, and since then the first part of the pilot (it's posted in three roughly nine-minute segments) has been streamed nearly 400,000 times, with mostly positive feedback from viewers. Given the response -- and the fact that NBC's sister studio, NBC Universal TV, produced it -- the network has put it back into development.
"I love the spirit of the experimentation," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly says. "And I think if we can actually have something find an audience on the web, gravitate over to the network, continue with a web presence and have them feed each other, that could end up being a really cool thing."
The resurrection of "Nobody's Watching" will continue online before it ever hits the air (if, in fact, it does). Lawrence and his co-writers, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, will produce a set of webisodes featuring the show's two leads, Taran Killam and Paul Campbell, that Reilly hopes will be online within the next month.
At the same time, Lawrence and Co. will begin working on scripts for the TV series. As with other pilots, there's no guarantee it will make it to NBC's airwaves. If it does go, though, there's a chance it could air in the coming season.