July 2012: NFTS TV student Sean O’Riordan, Warner Bros. International Television Production (www.wbitvp.com) and the New York TV Festival (www.nytvf.com) announced this month that NFTS graduation TV Pilot Newton's Law as the winner of an inaugural development opportunity offered by the studio to an outstanding UK-based non-scripted format submitted to the NYTVF's annual Independent Pilot Competition.

O'Riordan's winning format – a non-scripted psychological game show (promo pic above) – earned a cash prize of $5,000 and an option deal with the studio, as well as an early bid as an Official Selection of the 2012 New York Television Festival, which is slated for October 22 – 27 in lower Manhattan.

Announced during the inaugural NYTVF London held at BAFTA's London headquarters last November, the opportunity, along with a similar deal offered by Fox TV Studios and Apostle for scripted/narrative programming, marked the first international NYTVF awards offering guaranteed development deals exclusively to producers based in the UK.

“We are grateful to Andrew Zein and everyone at WBITVP for their support of the independent television community and congratulate Sean O'Riordan on his winning submission,” said NYTVF Founder Terence Gray. “This opportunity stemmed from a genuine interest on the part of many of the NYTVF's Industry Partners to access and nurture great producing talent in the UK, and we hope this will be the first of many opportunities we can offer to producers there and around the world.”

O'Riordan, who created Newton’s Law as a graduation project while studying on the NFTS Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA course, will have the opportunity to screen his pilot as an Official Selection at the 2012 New York Television Festival and has also earned designation as an Official Artist for the event. As an Official Artist, he will enjoy exclusive opportunities to participate in NYTVF Connect – the industry-focused artist-only track at the Festival – which includes additional development opportunities through NYTVF Pitch as well Executive Access and Artist Development Chats.

Irish-born Sean O’Riordan, aged 24, who now lives in London, said: “It has always been my dream and passion to work in television entertainment and I hope this award will help to open doors to an opportunity to become a development producer for innovative formats that include audience interactivity, not just in live shows but in recorded programmes too.”

He said he hoped this would signify a change in attitude within the television industry towards graduates by showing the high caliber of work they can produce:

“Broadcasters often seemed reluctant to take on graduates like me but I now hope they will open their eyes to the wealth of talent coming out of schools like the NFTS and start to take us more seriously by offering jobs higher up the ladder.”

“The NFTS is pretty unique – it’s the only educational institution where you get 2 years to develop an idea, the space and support to explore wacky paths and see what works while being taught by leading players in the field with great industry contacts and professional studio equipment. By the time we graduate, we know how to take an idea from development right through to production and editing at a professional level.”

David G Croft, Head of Television at the NFTS, said: “We are delighted with this news and very proud of Sean.  This is the first time that a student, or indeed anyone from the UK, has won such a prestigious award. We hope that it makes other broadcasters sit up and take notice of the high caliber of graduate work coming out of the NFTS. We are training TV Entertainment Producers and Directors of the future and giving them the opportunity to turn their Entertainment ideas – the lifeblood of the industry – into real shows. Sean O’Riordan and  Newton’s Law demonstrates that such talented graduates can compete with the professional TV industry in creating imaginative formats capable of being made for broadcast television internationally.”

NYTVF's current 2012 development roster features a record 24 guaranteed development deals from 16 partners, including exclusive opportunities for UK-based producers from  WBITVP (non-scripted) as well as Fox TV Studios, in partnership with Apostle (scripted/narrative). Other partnered initiatives include the fifth annual FOX Comedy Script Contest and the first-ever Comedy Central Short Pilot Competition as well as Unscripted Development Pipelines with A&E and Lifetime. Additionally, the NYTVF just completed the submission period for its annual Independent Pilot Competition, with guaranteed deals from partners IFC, MTV, Syfy and VH1 as well as the partnered NYTVF-Just for Laughs Sitcom Search. Semi-finalists and finalists in these and all NYTVF initiatives will be invited to participate in the 2012 New York Television Festival as Official Artists, where they will enjoy the exclusive benefits associated with NYTVF Connect, including NYTVF Pitch which is currently offering guaranteed deals from Sundance Channel, BIO Channel, Logo, Hasbro Studios, SevenOne International and Channel 4.