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

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

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Prepare for a TV Show Pitch Meeting?

When preparing for a TV show pitch meeting, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind:

• Research the company or network you’re pitching to and the person you’re meeting with to understand their interests and find out what they’re looking for in a show.

• Prepare a clear and concise summary of your show, including crucial details about the characters, plot, and unique elements.
Rehearse your pitch beforehand to ensure you can deliver it confidently and smoothly.

• Bring any supporting materials, such as a sizzle reel or artwork, to help bring your show to life and make a lasting impression.

• It’s also a good idea to anticipate the decision-maker’s questions about your show and be prepared to answer them thoughtfully and knowledgeably.

• Your pitch should be engaging, and it should demonstrate your passion for the project and your expertise in the field. Remember to keep the tone of your pitch friendly, informative, and human to connect with your audience.

How Do I Approach TV Executives to Pitch My Show?

It can be nerve-wracking to approach TV to pitch your show, but appearing confident and professional is important. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Network: Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with other TV professionals to make connections and get your foot in the door.

Do your research: Learn about the decision makers you want to pitch to, including their backgrounds, track records, and the types of shows they typically approve.

Be persistent: It may take several attempts before you meet the right person, so keep going even if they don’t respond immediately.

Be concise: Keep it short and sweet when you finally get your chance to pitch. Highlight the most important elements of your show and why it will succeed.

Follow up: After the pitch, you should follow up and thank them for the opportunity to pitch.

How Do I Find the Right People to Pitch My TV Show To?

Finding the right people to pitch your TV show to can be challenging, but it’s critical to the success of your project. The key is researching and finding the people and companies that align with your vision.

Here are a few factors you should consider when looking for the right partner:

Production companies and networks: Look for companies and networks that produce shows similar to yours in genre, style, and tone. That way, you can be sure they understand and appreciate the type of content you want to create.

Agents and executives: Research agents and executives with a history of working in your genre before and successfully executing similar projects. They can be valuable allies and have important connections that can help you get your show off the ground.

Industry events: Attending such events as film festivals and conferences is a great way to network and connect with potential partners. These events can provide valuable opportunities to showcase your work and meet industry professionals who may be interested in your TV show.

How Can I Make My Pitch Stand Out?

When making your pitch stand out, you should consider a few key factors:

• You must come across as confident, articulate, and passionate about your show. This will help capture your audience’s attention and get them excited about what you’re saying.

• It’s also crucial to prepare well so you can clearly articulate the key elements of your show and why it’s unique and relevant. This includes a brief overview of the plot, the main characters, and what sets your show apart from others.

• Consider a visual component, such as a sizzle reel or artwork, that will bring your show to life and leave a strong impression. This is especially important if your show is more visual, as it will give people an idea of what it will look like.

A clear and concise pitch that is well rehearsed and delivered smoothly can also help you stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression.

This means you should take the time to practice your pitch and iron out any mistakes, so you’re comfortable delivering it well in front of an audience.

And remember, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that matters. So make sure to use engaging and confident body language, make eye contact, and smile!

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching a TV Show?

When pitching a TV show, you should avoid a few common mistakes to increase your chances of success. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:

Lack of clarity and compelling idea: You must have a clear and compelling concept for your show and clearly articulate why it’s relevant and appealing to your target audience.

Poor preparation and delivery: Your pitch should be well-prepared, polished, and flow confidently and smoothly. If you come across as well-rehearsed and confident, you can stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression.

Being too pushy or aggressive: Appearing too pushy or aggressive can turn people off. That’s why it’s important to strike a balance between confidence and respect.

Over-attachment to your show concept: While it’s great to be passionate about your show, it’s crucial to be open to feedback and suggestions that can make it even better. Being too attached to your original concept can limit your ability to evolve and improve.

Can I Simultaneously Pitch a TV Show to Multiple Networks and Production Companies?

Yes, it is possible. However, it would be best to watch out for possible conflicts of interest. Some companies may not be interested in working with you if they think you’re already committed to another project.

Also, it’s advisable to let each company or network know that you’re pitching to others. Hence, they know the situation and can make an informed decision.

Is It Necessary to Have Representation, Such as an Agent or Manager, When Pitching a TV Show?

Representation, such as an agent or manager, can be helpful when pitching a TV show because they can advise and assist you and help you meet the right people.

However, it’s okay not to have representation to pitch a TV show, especially if you have a strong network of industry contacts and can secure meetings on your own.

The most important thing is that you have a clear and compelling concept and the ability and confidence to effectively communicate and pitch it to potential collaborators.

What Should I Do if My Pitch Is Rejected?

If your pitch was rejected, it’s normal to be disappointed and maybe even discouraged. But here’s what you should remember: rejection is a normal part of the pitching process and an opportunity for you to grow and improve.

Here are a few important steps you can take if your pitch is rejected:

Ask for feedback: Reach out to the person who rejected your pitch and ask them for specific feedback on what they liked, didn’t like, and what they think could be improved. This will tell you what worked and what didn’t, and that will help you make your next pitch even better.

Keep things in perspective: Remember that rejections are just part of the process and aren’t a reflection of your talent or worth. The entertainment industry is incredibly competitive, and even the best ideas can get rejected. Keep pushing forward, and don’t take it personally.

Make improvements: Take the feedback you received and use it to make your next pitch even better. Show the person you pitched to that you’re willing to work to make your idea a reality.

Keep at it: Succeeding in the entertainment industry often takes perseverance and determination. Keep developing your ideas, building your network, and putting yourself out there. You never know when you’ll get your big break, so keep pursuing your dreams!

How Do I Follow Up After a TV Show Pitch Meeting?

After a TV show pitch meeting, follow-up is a critical step that can significantly impact the success of your pitch. Here are a few important factors to consider when following up:

Be professional and polite: Regardless of the outcome of your pitch, you must display a professional and friendly demeanor. Being respectful and friendly will leave a positive impression and open the door for future opportunities.

Respond promptly: If the person you’ve pitched to expresses interest, you should respond promptly and give them any additional information they need. This shows you’re enthusiastic about the project and committed to making it a success.

Ask for feedback: If your pitch was rejected, it’s okay to ask for feedback and consider what you can do to make your pitch stronger next time. Not only does this show that you’re willing to improve, but it also provides valuable insight that can help you with future pitches.

Keep a positive attitude: Regardless of the outcome, you should always keep a positive attitude and be open to future opportunities. The TV industry is highly competitive, and a positive attitude can help you succeed.

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