How To Sell a Reality Show to Hollywood

Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Reality Show to Hollywood


If you don’t have your head buried in the sand, you’re probably aware that television is teeming with different reality shows. Every major broadcast and cable network is on a constant scramble to produce these shows. The reason is quite simple. They are enormously profitable. Compared to scripted television they cost very little to make and they generate ratings that equal or surpass scripted television programming. Here are some tips on how to sell a reality show to Hollywood:

  1. Create an idea for the show. An example of an idea for a reality show on the air is bunch of comics compete each week to see who the best comic is. What you need to do is put together a logline. This is one sentence under 30 words that will explain concisely what your idea is. If you can't do this, then you don't have your idea well honed enough. It is this logline that will be the backbone of your attempt to market the show.
  2. Invent a format for the show. Using the sample of a logline for the show above, here is an example of a format for this existing show:"The comics will live together and will first face a comic challenge like facing down hecklers and then they will each secretly vote on who they’d like to challenge. The three comics with the most challenges must perform in front of an audience who will choose a loser that is booted off the show each week."
  3. Put together some simple written material that coherently presents this idea. Nobody in Hollywood has any patience to read anything that is long. Your best bet is to have your written presentation done in one page. Start off with the logline, have a paragraph on the format. Next, have a paragraph that will explain how the show resolves. For example, in "Last Comic Standing," a final comic is left after all the others are voted off and this comic wins some great career opportunities. Finally, have a quick conclusion explaining why the show will be popular or who the audience is along with your contact information.
  4. Obtain a list of industry entities that are looking for ideas for reality shows. You can use industry directories like "The Hollywood Creative Directory" which will list many of the real producers out there, what type of projects they make and their contact information.
  5. Submit your idea to them. Once you've chosen some potential producers to pitch the project to, you can either contact them by mail, e-mail or if you're a more aggressive person, you can try giving them a phone call and do your pitch on the phone. If you do call, it's much better if you ask for a specific person in the company. If you get that person on the phone and they're not the right one to speak to, they'll let you know and steer you to that person.

Although the entertainment world is difficult to break into if you are an outsider, it's most definitely possible. The key to having a chance at success is understanding what the producers are looking for and presenting it to them in the format and with the protocols they expect from professionals. If you have a great idea and take the time to learn about the industry expectations, your idea may be the next big hit.


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