What are some of the big mistakes in pitching new shows to networks?
That was a question thrown to TV executives at Screen Forever conference last week.
Nine’s Co-Head of Drama Andy Ryan said, “Pitching (Dramas) that are simply not going to work coming off the back of The Voice or The Block with a tonal disconnect that aren’t going to work for our audience.
“The other big mistake is people who pitch and it becomes apparent they don’t watch Channel Nine. Or maybe they don’t even watch Television. You are kind of gobsmacked.
“Know your audience and know who your show is intended for. We are rigorous on that. We us the word ‘audience’ a thousand times a day in general conversation around the corridor.”
Seven’s Head of Unscripted Sonya Wilkes said Seven was looking for broad female-skewing reality for 7:30 – 9pm with “heart and aspiration” or factuals with incredible access.
But she noted pitching errors included concepts that have already been on air.
“I’ve had pitches from people for things that have already been on air and failed, and been pitched again. Or pitching titles that haven’t been cleared, that we could never clear. Pitching hosts and talent that we could never get, like Hugh Jackman.”
She also noted zeitgeist pitches cloning current hits already in the market, such as Netflix cooking series Nailed It!
“Within a couple of weeks of that being out there, I got at least 3 or 4 people pitching versions, like the ‘non-dessert version’ of Nailed it!”
Another was pitches following the success of Sophie Monk in The Bachelorette.
“As soon as that happened I got 3 or 4 pitches of celebrity dating shows. But that’s not a criticism. I’m not saying don’t bring those ideas to us. It’s really just a sense of the zeitgeist and how rare a new idea is because we’re all swimming in the same pool of ideas.”