MacGyver and HBO: 2 Opportunities to Develop a TV Show

hbWe recently became aware of two great opportunities for aspiring screenwriters to make the leap into television with their very own show ideas.

The first comes out of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, surprisingly enough. The school has teamed up with a few different organizations to see if they can’t find a great new show (half hour or hour) about female engineers. The project is called The Next MacGyver, and they’re taking submissions until mid April. Here’s what they have to say:

Thirty years ago, the original MacGyver created enormous interest around engineering with the exploits of Angus MacGyver, a spy who used his powers of engineering in every episode to solve problems.

According to Lee Zlotoff, the show’s creator: “I literally could not tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, ‘I became an engineer, or I went into the sciences because of MacGyver.’”

In the spirit of that show, in 2015, we are looking for TV ideas that will feature female engineers or female protagonists who will use their powers of engineering to solve problems.

We’re not looking to reboot the MacGyver franchise or bring back guys with mullets. We are asking: “Can you out-MacGyver MacGyver?” Can you imagine that next female hero that will inspire a generation of young women to see themselves as engineers?

Learn more at

The next project comes from HBO. The brand new HBOAccess Writing Fellowship will begin taking applications on March 4 and will close once they receive 1,000 submissions, which will probably be a day or two later, if that. The new fellowship is open to writers of diverse ethnic backgrounds and women. The ultimate goal is for the winning writers to develop their own half-hour or hour show with HBO:

The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is designed to give emerging, diverse writers the opportunity to develop a half-hour or hour script suitable for HBO or Cinemax.

The program will select up to 8 diverse writers to take part in a series of master classes held over one week in mid-August at the HBO campus in Santa Monica. Classes will consist of discussions with HBO executives and showrunners and will focus on character, story, pitching, securing an agent, and networking.

Each participant will then be paired with an HBO or Cinemax development executive who will serve as his/her mentor throughout next 8 months. In addition, we will hold monthly group meetings during which projects will continue to be work-shopped. At the end of the 8 months, HBO will hold a reception for industry professionals where the writers will be introduced to the entertainment community.

Learn more at Withoutabox.

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