Pitching Reality TV

Have you ever said to yourself, that person or business would make a great reality TV show? I bet your have!

And since Mimi Productions is one of the few television producers in Chicago, we get a lot of calls from budding reality TV hopefuls throughout the Chicagoland area. We love to hear people's ideas and stories and are open to find out if they would fit in the realm of reality TV.

But before you pick up the phone or e-mail us here are few pointers in the Reality TV game.

People before Concepts TV networks are not interested in concepts from new producers. You may think you have the next "Amazing Race" but you don't. TV networks have staff who brainstorm concepts or they have relationships with high level producers of hit TV shows who pitch those concepts. What the cable nets want from new producers are PEOPLE. And the successful pitches have the four elements below.

  1. Characters TV networks want the next Duck Dynasty, the next Dog the Bounty Hunter, the next Chumlee. Does the person or the group of people you are pitching literally jump off the screen? And I mean that. The characters MUST be strong, likable, engaging, funny and daring. Think Gordon Ramsey or Jeff Lewis, characters need to be loud, entertaining and smart.
  2. Worlds Every single network wants to be the first to the party that exposes the TV audience to the new World. NEVER pitch something that is just like a show on the air, networks call that derivative and they won't go for it. Don't pitch pawn shops, cake shops, hairdressers-that has been done. They are looking for those worlds we haven't seen yet. And that field of new worlds is getting smaller, but don't be discouraged, there are plenty of worlds that haven't been seen on TV.
  3. Conflict, Comedy, Drama There must be one of these elements to your show idea. Conflict=Dog the Bounty Hunter, Real Housewives. Comedy=Here Come's Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty. Drama=The Deadliest Catch, Gold Rush, Ax Men, Breaking Amish, Sister Wives. And FYI as of 2014-comedy is still ruling the roost. But that shouldn't dissuade you from drama or conflict. And your pitch can have one, two or all three of them.
  4. Stakes This is where a lot of pitches fall flat. You may have all of the right elements but no stakes. Trust me, I have been at this roadblock many times. And don't manufacture stakes. Network execs read about 20 pitches a day, they know something fake when they see it. Stakes can be-is our hero going to catch the bad guy? Is the restaurant going to survive? Is the team going to meet the deadline? Who will strike it rich? Networks don't want to make okay TV, they want GREAT TV.

Leave it to the Pros If you think your idea has all of these elements, that's awesome, but leave the pitching to the professionals. E-mail or call us and we can tell you our honest opinion. We pitch a lot, we work with partners that pitch a lot, who also have agents that talk to network executives on a daily basis. And knowing what the networks are looking for at any given moment is a daunting game. If we really think you have something-we will take you through the next steps of the process.

A few last words. WATCH TV. It seems a lot of folks who want to try their hand at pitching reality TV, DON'T WATCH REALITY TV. Networks do not like to be pitched something by someone who hasn't bothered to watch their network. Go online to the networks that have reality shows. Find out their slogan, watch their shows. You must become a student of reality TV!!!!!

We wish you great success and don't forget to call! Also, I host seminars about the Reality TV business and if you are really interested in getting into the business, I would love for you to attend. Like our Facebook page to get updates about event times and locations. http://www.facebook.com/mimiproductions

Many thanks! Let's make great TV together!
Michelle De Long-President Mimi Productions

Facebook Twitter Vimeo Share to Stumble Upon More...