A New TV Show Is Like a Venture-Capital Startup

Barry Ritholtz
A New TV Show Is Like a Venture-Capital Startup

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As Dave Goetsch, this week's guest on Masters in Business, sees it, getting a television program up and running bears a lot of parallels to a venture-capital-backed technology startup.

Goetsch, a co-producer and writer for CBS’s "The Big Bang Theory," the highest-ranked sitcom on TV, explained that the written pitch for a new show is the equivalent to the business plan you might create for new venture. Just as a founder starts with a round of angel investors, so too do show creators need backers for their initial pilot. If the program makes the cut, the next step is the “series A round” of funding, or the first season. For both TV shows and new businesses, no one knows if either will find an audience or users. By the time a show makes it to its fourth season, syndication starts -- the equivalent of a tech company's initial public offering of shares.But the similarities end: Even popular programs eventually go off air, and last week marked the finale for the series after a 12-year run.

Goetsch began his career as a comedy writer on the TV program "3rd Rock From the Sun," which ran from 1996 to 2001. He explained how comedy writing is about failure -- you constantly pitch story ideas and jokes, most of which don't make it onto the show.

His favorite books are here; a transcript is available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite host sites can be found here.

Next week we speak with Thomas Lin, founding editor of Quanta Magazine, an award-winning, independent science and math news site published by the Simons Foundation.

To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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