I don't have the time to pursue it...or the money...so I'm throwing out this idea for anyone who wants to run with it. A combination of the NCAA tournament and American Idol...but with a twist. The competition won't be for singers...it will be a tournament featuring the best theatre/drama departments at the NCAA schools...and will follow the same format as the basketball tournament.
This idea occurred to me the other day when I was watching the fantastic excitement provided by this weekend's games. I thought about my son Stewart....an acting major at the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. I thought...Gee, wouldn't it be great if other kids in college could experience the same type of national attention, and the thrill of competition, that the sports kids do.
So, here's what needs to happen. We get the NCAA to put together and sanction a tournament in which member schools would be invited to present a 10-minute play featuring their best actors, directors, playwrights, set-designers, and all the other behind-the-scenes people necessary to produce a top-notch show. I would suggest that it be a "sit-com" competition. Meaning...no heavy dramas, no Shakespeare...after all, we're trying to get everyone to watch "the game" on TV. And, we're trying to give these kids a vehicle they can ride to future employment.
There would be regional competitions just like in the basketball tournament. You get a panel of acting/entertainment experts, similar to Randy, Paula and Simon on "Idol" to judge the whole thing. Maybe you could get some of the "unemployed" cast of Friends to judge. (David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow don't seem to be too busy these days). You tape the regional auditions...make shows out of them just like "Idol". (Play up the good...Play up the bad...have some fun with it).
The best from the regionals are then invited to Hollywood...where else?...to compete live on TV for the title of NCAA National Theatrical champions. Each week the playwrights, actors and crew from the schools would have to come up with an entirely new and fresh production. Once the competition gets down to the Elite Eight, the national TV audience would vote for their favorites, again just like on "Idol". On the final night of competition, the remaining schools would each produce and perform a 23-minute show...just like a real sit-com.
The winners...and losers...would get some great exposure for their schools, theatre/drama programs, and everybody involved could make some money. The kids would get exposed to the world as the talented individuals that they are. I think there's a chance for this because we're talking about "entertainment". After all, how could you do a tournament that was interesting and fun to watch while trying to pick the national chemistry champs...or the best paleontology school?
Just send me 2% of the profit when the idea gets picked up by one of the networks.