I love anecdotes like the one writer/producer Earl Pomerantz shares on his blog today about the "reward" CBS gave him for the success of his sitcom MAJOR DAD:
Maybe you can help figure out what the reward was. I still don’t get it.
The deal went like this: I would write two scripts as the prototypes for two television series. CBS would guarantee that one of those scripts would be produced as a pilot.
Unless they didn’t like either of them. (Oops. There goes the guarantee.)
If they were unhappy with both shows, as a consequence of, you know, obliterating the guarantee, CBS would be required to pay a financial penalty.
To the studio I was working for.
Not to me.
They don't teach you about this sort of stuff in film school…which is a shame, because that's the kind of knowledge you really need to know to survive in this business. I'm still trying to learn it myself…