The poker TV show “Un$uited” hopes to go from pilot to series

Tom McEvoy

Film producer from New Jersey Tom Baldinger wants to make the next (first?) big poker TV show, and he’s been hard at work getting his latest project off the ground, Unusedfrom the first two pilot episodes to a full series.

It’s no easy task, especially in today’s competitive content environment, but Baldinger sees an opportunity to make a heartfelt show that appeals to an audience of poker fans and casual audiences alike.

The story is straightforward in the first few episodes. The main character, Greg, turns his back on the family business and moves to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player. The problem is that Greg is bad at poker and all his friends know it, but he doesn’t seem to have a clue. The adventure takes Greg from one seedy Vegas poker room to the next as he loses all his money and comes into contact with cameos such as the 1983 WSOP Main Event champion Tom McEvoy.

Baldinger, co-creator and executive producer of the series, is an independent filmmaker from New Jersey. It plays the main role Michael Satow as Greg and Tony Denison as his father Scott. An appearance is also possible And Laurawho you might remember from his time The wonderful years and as Vince Lombardi on Broadway.

And Laura
Dan Lauria in “Un$uited”

“Originally our plan was to make a film.”

The show’s producers and stars held demonstrations at poker events to drum up excitement for the project, most recently at one World Poker Tour event at Seminole hard rock in Florida, where Baldinger sat down with her for an interview PokerNews.

“Our executive producer (Kent Radford) came to me with the idea for this story during COVID,” Baldinger said. “We originally planned to make a film, but as we started writing we realized there was more to the story. So we wrote the pilot, which then manifested itself into two episodes.”

Traditionally, a television show begins as a pilot. Network executives will judge the project based on that one episode and a so-called “bible,” or larger overview of the show’s ideas for an entire season and beyond. If the network agrees, it will then order the series for a certain number of episodes or an entire season.

“We could license a full season of something like Un$uited. The strike has set everyone back and now everyone needs content.”

“That’s not the case anymore, especially since what just happened with the WGA/SAG strike,” Baldinger explained. “It really messed up the platform for releasing new shows. There were no new shows for the fall, and there are no new shows for this spring. Now they are trying to get everything ready for the summer and fall of next year.”

So what does this mean for a show like Unused?

“What we’re finding is that there are streaming services and networks that are licensing fully produced television shows. We could license a full season of something like that Unused. The strike has set everyone back and now everyone needs content.”

It’s a crowded landscape, but Baldinger is confident in the project and the people behind it, who have worked hard for over a year to make the show a success.

Michael Satow
Michael Satow as Greg

From concept to pilot

“When we first came up with the idea, it took us a few months to write the full pilot and second episode. We went straight into production pretty quickly.”

The show was filmed on location in Las Vegas and the casino interiors were created in the now-closed stadium Showboat in Atlantic City.

“We filmed Hotel Galaxy (a hotel on Dean Martin Drive, one of the side streets near the Strip), and this is an interesting hotel. There’s a moment in the first episode where our main character returns to the room, you see the TV hanging on the wall and it looks like the room is trashed – that’s what it looked like when we showed up. When we walked in we said, ‘Oh my God, this is the perfect set.’ They must have known we were coming!”

Filming in Las Vegas gives the show a certain visual authenticity and depth that might not be present if an attempt was made to “fake” these scenes.

“It took us about two months to cast and another month to scout locations in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Filming took about six weeks, followed by post-production, which takes a lot of time. It took almost a full year to get it fully ready for release.”

“We want more poker players like McEvoy to make cameo appearances in the series. Tom is great, he was a great resource for us on set to make sure all the poker scenes looked good and were as authentic as we could make them.”

After the show was ready for audiences, Baldinger and his team of producers began hosting private screenings within the poker community, including one at the WSOP this summer.

“We want more poker players like McEvoy to make cameo appearances in the series. Tom is great, he was a great resource for us on set to make sure all the poker scenes looked good and were as authentic as we could make them. He also introduced me Matt Savage, and the World Poker Tour was a big supporter of the show. Matt will be our official poker advisor when we get started.”

Tom McEvoy
Tom McEvoy in Un$uited

What’s next?

Baldinger’s goal is to find financing and a home for the show while navigating the new landscape of content distribution. If he can finance the entire first season, Baldinger can distribute it as a complete package, bypassing the traditional pilot process and reliance on networks and executives.

“Our focus is on getting the poker community behind the show. Having demonstrations with poker pros coming up to me and giving their feedback is great. Right now, our biggest strategy is to get through the first season and work with investors and other members of the poker community. We also plan to hold more demonstrations to stimulate interest in the project.”

More information about Unused, Visit the 624 Productions website. Check out the trailer below:

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Matt Hansen

Live Reporting Manager

PokerNews Live Reporting Executive based in Las Vegas, originally from Chicago, IL


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