How Not To Sell a TV Series, Again

I received this email:

I’m looking for someone to work with to spice-up and sell shows with. If you are in
the area I’d love to get together and see if we could make something happen with
a few ideas I have.

I replied:

Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve got plenty of ideas… and I’m busy enough just
trying to sell my own stuff. But I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

He replied:

You’re busy, I understand. Thanks anyway. If you could just tell me one thing…how do you promote your ideas? The
reason I ask is that from the people I’ve talked to, I mean, from what they’ve
told me, it’s wonder how any shows get made…I get this vision of a dog chasing
its tail.
For example, A&E TV, the parent network for History Channel says, "we
do not review unsolicited submissions." Are they saying that they come up with
every show? Does a writer have to sell a production company on the idea who then
produces the show, show it at a festival in hopes that someone buys it? Or is
that whole "we do not review unsolicited submissions" stuff crap? What’s the

I replied:

First off, and no offense intended, but if you don’t already know the
answers to those questions, you probably aren’t experienced enough to be
pitching TV shows to networks now  anyway.
I have no idea how the non-fiction/reality show game is played. When it
comes to dramatic series, I recommend you read chapter 17, "Your Really Great
Idea for a TV Show," from my book SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING.

Leave a Comment