"The roots of my PhD research can be traced back to my career of 25 years in the entertainment TV. I drew on my personal experiences and interpretations of practices, events and discourses that have shaped the current industry and market. My thesis was a product of my ‘internal conversation’ about creativity – a process of self-reflection that involves questioning the unquestionable, or the things we take for granted (such as The Next Big Thing). At face value, The Next Big Thing phrase simply addresses the TV industry’s goal to search for a ‘big’ global hit, which can be distributed to as many territories as possible. I have been familiar with The Next Big Thing from the early 2000s, having had ambitions myself to create such a global hit. During this time, I never attempted to challenge the idea behind it, or to question its objective, as it made perfect sense to me as a professional goal. However, once I embarked on this research journey, it gradually became clear to me that The Next Big Thing idea/term/phrase has also served a much more complex and deeply embedded role, shaping the beliefs, views and practices of practitioners, and, most centrally, influencing how they approach TV storytelling. As a researcher and as a practitioner – my thesis also provides the framework for exploring a much bigger story: how an industry defines creative objectives, and goals through the stories that it tells and the narratives that it builds. My unfolding argument supports the view that creativity in the format industry has been contingent on a process of negotiation between different interest groups in the industry, that has had the belief of The Next Big Thing at its heart. Whilst The Next Big Thing has indeed played motivating and enabling roles for the industry over two decades, the evidence points to the situation in which it has also played a key constraining role, representing the antithesis to creativity in some respects. The Next Big Thing can be viewed as ‘the box’ that locks creativity within certain ‘closed’ criteria, which are ultimately, too narrowing and constraining for the industry. This is also the paradox of the format – a vehicle that closes down options, repeats and replicates, but which is associated as well with creativity as it enables skill building, and global entrepreneurial opportunities.
In my thesis, I called attention to how The Next Big Thing operates as a central mechanism, which has facilitated both stability for the industry (maintaining the status quo and the interests of those involved) and change/transformation.
I currently work on a book based on my research, and I hope to share it with everybody in due course".