Perfect Pitches: Industry Creators Share Dream Ideas for Music-Centered TV Shows

Kirsten Ulve

For our TV Issue, we asked TV, film and music industry creators to throw out their dream idea for a music-centric show. Here's what they had to say. 

The Greatest: Two uber-fans argue in front of a jury of respected music industry professionals, making their case for ‘the greatest ever’ pop singer, love song, rap album, et cetera. Basically, I want to take drunken bar and dinner arguments and put them in a courtroom where the tastemakers will decide the answer once and for all. Obviously, the most epic episode would be ‘greatest album ever’ -- Lemonade versus Thriller.”
-- Nahnatchka Khan, showrunner, Fresh Off the Boat

Tenafly High: A musical about a group of high school kids in Bergen County, New Jersey, who discover they have magic powers. Meryl Streep plays the principal/good witch.”
--Adam Schlesinger, executive music producer, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; member of Fountains of Wayne
“Marcos, the former leader of a narcocorrido group, comes home to San Antonio from Afghanistan with a Purple Heart, a heavy dose of PTSD and a desire to put his experience -- as both a Mexican kid growing up in San Antonio and as a military man who has grown to see his brethren as part of America’s misused and forgotten underclass -- into music. With a contract for future Spanish-language recordings owned by his despotic stepfather (who also controls most of the local clubs) and a key former group member killed by a drug lord, how can he become the Latin version of Bono? He sings in English, and he breaks every convention the music industry holds dear.”
--S. Leigh Savidge, screenwriter/co-executive producer, Straight Outta Compton
“An edgy-as-hell show about a young black woman growing up on the streets who blows up when a video of her singing her raw R&B becomes a monster hit. The industry is determined to use her up, but she flips the script and makes the industry her bitch.”
--Gina Prince-Bythewood, writer-director, Beyond the Lights

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains -- the 1982 film about three girls who start a punk band -- but as an animated series.”
--Jenni Konner, executive producer/writer/director, Girls
“A This Is Spinal Tap-style mockumentary for a millennial audience, in which the band finds overnight success on 
the Internet. If the show works, we would manage and tour the band.”
--Scott Manson, COO, SB Projects
“I’ve always wanted to make a show about a girl with a time machine who goes back to different moments and performances in music history, like the party in Greenwich Village where Joan Baez met Bob Dylan, or one of the clubs in Hamburg [Germany] where the Beatles first performed. Actually, I just want to make the time machine and use it myself.”
--Liz Meriwether, creator, New Girl
“A half-hour comedy called Squashed. It’s Quantum Leap meets Dr. Phil, where in each episode a fictional therapist with his own talk show goes back in time to stop a rap beef before it begins.”
--Kenya Barris, creator, Black-ish

Voices That Care. It’s Man in The High Castle meets VH1 Storytellers; a true fake story based on a real song. In 1991, stars of the time like Michael Bolton, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Cindy Crawford and Dudley Moore formed a supergroup to record an anthem for the Gulf War soldiers. They believed they were making history, performing a song that would be remembered always and would bring this country together. They did not. They only confused everyone; except for Saddam Hussein who loved it and embraced it. This eight-part mini-series will be the first up close look at how something truly forgettable actually inspired Iraq to victory.”
--Josh Schwartz, executive producer, The O.C., Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries, Hart of Dixie and others
 "A coming of age story about a girl that takes refuge in songwriting, her only escape from her obnoxious show mother and her entitled sister. The more this girl’s life unfolds before your eyes, the more you realize not everything is as it seems.”
--Julia Michaels, singer-songwriter
Law & Order meets Homicide: Life on the Street, with a dash of Cop Rock: an unflinching, hard-hitting, gritty, police/prosecutor psychological drama punctuated by music the characters sing.”
--Courtney Kemp, executive producer, Power

A version of this article originally appeared in the Oct. 8 issue of Billboard.