How to pitch a TV show

Ever wondered how to pitch a tv show?

It’s difficult to know how to pitch a tv show.

In this article we get advice from commissioning editors on how to pitch a TV show in 2016.

What should be in my TV pitch

It can be difficult to know how to pitch a tv idea to a commissioning editor.

What documents do you need?
How long will it take?
How do you contact them?
How do you start the conversation about a TV idea?

Just because you’ve got all the information, doesn’t mean you need to bombard a commissioner with every detail straight away. What should you include? sometimes, is less actually more?

In the recent issue of Broadcast (25th March 2016) an article by Hannah Gannage Stewart outlined “How to befriend a commissioner” The Panel of contributors included:

Pitch perfect advice

When it came to pitches their advice was as follows;

The commissioners agreed that contributors need to be targeted in pitching ideas and do their research on what channels are looking for.

The Panel were unanimously unimpressed by long, rambling treatments or being bombarded with exhaustive lists of ideas that demonstrate little or no tailoring.

The BBC’s Alison Kirkham said “A brilliant meeting is one with someone who has watched your output and understands your channel. They bring you two or three things that could sit on your channel tonally and that they really believe in.”

When it comes to getting in contact it appears commissioners prefer a bit of tenacity.

ITV’s Andrew O’Connell said “I never used to ring commissioners because i’d always think they were far too busy.”

Hilary Rosen added, “Actually, 10 minutes on the phone is less of a drain on resources than a one hour meeting.”

Video : Further Advice from commissioning editors

In might be from 2014, but much of the advice in this video is still relevant.

Ideas for TV shows are the key

When it comes to pitches, the commissioners agreed that having a great idea is key.

They also agreed, the best people to work with were often those interested in collaboration and development of their idea.

Kirkham commented, “It’s not transactional, it has to be collaborative.”

David Brindley added, “The idea that the commissioning editor is all powerful is probably not a great myth to peddle.”
He’d rather commissioners were seen as, “taking a good idea and hopefully making it better.”

ITV’s Andrew O’Connell summed up the article nicely saying, “At the end of the day its all about the creativity and making sure we have the right ideas coming through the door.”

How to create a tv show

For more information of how to create a tv show please see the following blog articles on our website.

PART 1 and PART 2

I have an idea for a tv show who do I contact?

You can submit your idea to us here


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