Netflix Is Shooting Its First Ever Pilot For A New Show

For the first time, Netflix is experimenting with the pilot model with the potential new comedy series Little Sky.

By Robert Scucci | Updated


By now, Netflix is well known for its script-to-series initiatives when it comes to developing a show, but for the first time ever, the streaming giant is going to start experimenting with ordering pilots, according to Deadline. Well, we should actually say “pilot,” because there is currently only one in the works that we know of, in the form of a comedy series entitled Little Sky. This is big news for Netflix, and we can only hope that future pilot initiatives will follow if their first attempt yields positive results.

Though Netflix has been offering original programming for over a decade, they’ve mostly piggybacked off shows that have already been established by other networks (Arrested Development, for example) or used a script-to-series model. In other words, a proof of concept was already previously established from outside sources. As Netflix attempts to add the pilot model to its repertoire, they can come up with their own concepts and original ideas, and test them against audiences rather than using an entire first season of a script-to-series show being the proof of concept.

Little Sky will be the first show Netflix ordered a pilot for, and there is a lot of new ground to uncover, especially in the comedy genre. On network television, the pilot model has been a tried and true staple of show development, and has been especially crucial in developing comedy shows because it allows showrunners and audiences alike the opportunity to test the waters before committing to a series. Should Netflix branch out with its pilot model, they’ll be able to test out multiple series against each other based on audience reception.

netflix pilot
Samara Weaving, star of the Little Sky pilot, in Ready or Not (2019)

Things look promising for Netflix in developing the pilot for Little Sky, starring Samara Weaving (Nine Perfect Strangers). The pilot will follow the story of Penelope Paul Porter, an aspiring on-air news reporter of questionable competence looking for her big break, which presents itself to her in the form of the mayor of a small town being reported missing. The premise for the comedy series was compelling enough for Netflix to order a pilot, and Righter Doyle (Bonding) will be credited as the director and creator of the series.

This development is a long time coming for Netflix, considering that HBO Max, Amazon, and Peacock all use a dual development model including both script-to-series, and pilot initiatives. And it makes sense for Netflix to explore the pilot model with comedies. Netflix has been leaning into the realm of comedy, most notably since they started their “Netflix is a Joke” campaign in 2017, which saw a heavy emphasis on stand-up comedy specials.

Just last month, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage marked the first time ever Netflix live-streamed a comedy special, and it was massively successful, ranking in the Global Top 10. Though Little Sky will be a scripted series, there’s no telling how successful it will be at this point in time. If the Netflix pilot model does work, however, it’s safe to assume that we will see more pilots ordered in the coming months and years.