How to Pitch a TV Show (Advice from 4 Media Experts)

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on email

We asked media executives to give us an insight on how to effectively pitch a TV show.

Rhonda Rees

Rhonda Rees

Award-Winning PR Expert | President of Rhonda Rees Public Relations | Author, “Profit and Prosper with Public Relations: Insider Secrets to Make You a Success

Write an effective press release

The best way to pitch a TV show is to write an effective press release. It should have a good subject angle or “hook“. It can be timely and newsworthy or introduce something that has never been seen or done before. It should also take into account their audience.

  • What is the demographic?
  • What age level, gender or personal tastes do they have?

Also, it’s important to get your key points across within the first couple of paragraphs. Having a good photo or video and optimizing it by providing links is the best way to go. Providing producers or booking coordinators with info to your website, blog, or social media is a definite plus.

It’s also smart to use the right media lists. Working with professional companies that have up-to-date software is essential. Making a tailor-made list of subject categories and narrowing down the search to include personal names of people that you are pitching to is paramount. Backing up the effort by using a wire service is also very wise.

The last step is to do media relations. That means that you get on the phone and follow-up with the people that you have sent the press release out to. Since media lists can have thousands of media outlets and names, it’s wise to select between 50-100 that are key, and then make contact with them.

After that, you may have to send the press release out again since many busy executives probably haven’t seen it the first time around.

Rick Pendrick

Rick Pendrick

Public Relations and Media Expert | Founder and CEO of Prism

Offer them an exclusive

When pitching a TV show it is very important to offer them an exclusive. National outlets such as Good Morning America will not take your pitch if CBS This Morning already did a segment on it. Similarly, local network TV affiliates are equally as territorial.

Another key is to communicate why your pitch will offer great visuals. For example, if you have a clothing line, going into the weeds about the materials is not as important as offering to send samples that the hosts or models can wear in-studio.

It is also compelling to give producers the chance to come to an event, go behind-the-scenes and get to participate in an activity. This makes for a compelling action-oriented segment that will grab a viewer’s attention as opposed to seeing two talking heads.

Finally, the pitch has to be timely. With Father’s Day approaching, now is not the day to pitch an evergreen story. Figure out how your clients can tie-into these holidays, which every single TV show will be doing segments on, and make your pitch so enticing that not only will they feature your client but they will call you back soon to see if you have any other clients that could help them produce a segment that will make their Executive Producers happy.

John Powers

John Powers

Sr. Creative Services Leader | Emmy-winner formerly of ESPN

Come prepared

The best way to pitch a TV show is confidently. Come prepared with a well laid-out synopsis and professionally produced demo.

Have an elevator speech ready and prepare for 10 minutes or an hour. You sometimes only get one shot in front of the right people. Make it count and don’t waste their time!

Joshua Amar

Joshua Amar

Director | Writer

You should have an idea of the general outline of your shows trajectory

If you want to pitch a TV show successfully, you shouldn’t just know what happens in Season 1. TV executives want to know what happens in Season 1, Season 2, and, Season 5.

Your show should have legs and they want to know that it can be sustained. You don’t need to know what happens in every episode, but you should have an idea of the general outline of your shows trajectory.