For real, Schrab, "What happened...?"
Back in 1998, Harmon and I started taking meetings based off our spec screenplay, Big Ant Movie (see Scud "What Happened?"). One of our first meetings was with none other than Ben Stiller. Ben had been a hero of ours since the Ben Stiller Show and Cable Guy, now he was sitting in front of us telling Dan and I he thought we were funny. Pretty cool.
Just before the end of the meeting, he off-handedly asked "You guys have any TV ideas? I have a deal with ABC." Dan pitched a quick idea he called "The Protagonist." It was about a Hollywood rewriter who had the magical ability to jump into screenplays and rewrite them by living as the story's protagonist. Eh, not bad. Kinda "Out there" (in Hollywood that's not a compliment. Neither is "Kooky" or "Wacky"). Anyway, we shook Mr. Stiller's hand and went off to other meetings.
About a week later, Ben's producer called us and said ABC pressure called him about his development deal. Ben pitched The Protagonist and they thought "Eh, not bad." A few days later we were with Ben Stiller pitching this "Out there' show to the President of ABC. And she bought it. Less than a year after moving to LA, Harmon and I were now TV writers.
After a month of trying to figure out how to make The Protagonist work, we get a call from ABC saying "We have no idea where to schedule your 'out there' show on our network, so we are passing on your idea."
"But we already signed contracts, we've been working on this for a month," we said.Page 2