Last fall, Ben Sherwood, president of Disney’s TV Group, and 21 executives heard more than 300 ideas for TV shows as part of Disney’s second annual Pitch-a-Palooza—an internal competition designed to boost morale and find the company’s next hit TV show. But it was a pitch from UWM alumus Jon Moze (BBA ’13), a 29-year-old video distribution specialist in Disney’s digital media department, which just might be the next hit comedy. Moze’s pitch was billed as Modern Family meets The Wonder Years—it’s centered on a widowed Midwestern dad who tries to connect with his three teenage kids as he re-enters the dating pool.
Moze was in the middle of a seven-person meeting when Sherwood unexpectedly appeared with a lavish assortment of Disney-themed balloons to congratulate him as one of 10 competition winners. Each is awarded $1,000 and have the chance to have their idea move through the development process.
If Moze’s idea goes all the way, there’s a chance that his position in the company could change as a result. At the very least, he would have a chance to remain involved with the project.
“It’s one of the happiest times of the year when I get to walk in and surprise someone, and then give them $1,000 and balloons,” says Sherwood, adding with a laugh: “Next year, we’re going to get a Goodyear blimp.”