Books

‘America’s Next Great Author’ a new reality TV show is in the works

Just when you thought reality shows couldn’t go any further, publishing is getting set to receive the next round of Reality Show Treatment with ‘America’s Next Great Author’.

Takings its cues from the tried and tested waters of Big Brother, Project Runway, X-Factor, America’s Got Talent—the reality show format offers amateurs a chance to display their literary talent and work with mentors in a charged, and competitive journey.

Kwame Alexander, and showrunners Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry, authors and co-founders of the longstanding pitch contest Pitchapalooza (an “American Idol for books, only nicer) say it has taken years to fine-tune, and get off the ground. 

marga gomez judge
Mentor/Judge Marga Gomez Credit: Daily Cal

The creators are now ready to shoot the pilot, which they hope will lead to full production of the show, aimed at an audience that “loves drama on and off the page.” the show will begin with the classic  “tryouts” phase, to take place in cities across the country, with would-be authors given one-minute pitches to deliver their pitches to industry professionals. After which, six contestants who will be chosen to participate in a month-long writer’s retreat during which they will live together Big Brother-style. 

The producers hope to feature “charismatic” would-be authors from diverse backgrounds and areas of the country, says Alexander.  Sharing a statement via the network “The show is dedicated to including writers who aren’t normally given a seat at the table in mainstream publishing. Contestants don’t have to be graduates of an elite MFA program that basically guarantees an open door in the book business. The series will feature writers from communities and cultures all across America who bring their unique voices to readers in the world of literature.”

The pilot will be filmed in San Francisco, and is set to be hosted by Alexander featuring a live audience and a panel of media luminaries including National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds, NBC News anchor Angie Goff, and writer and performer Marga Gomez. Along with the advice and mentorship, the winner of the pilot show will receive $2,500. Eckstut said,  there is a lot of room for “substantial” prize money and publishing opportunities around the show’s contestants, which he expects to be a big incentive, and draw card for writers and publishers alike.