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Hollywood Producers with Fresh Ideas

That basic idea and game went through many stages of development before even being pitched to the network, but once produced, it became the most successful game show in the history of television we now know as “Jeopardy!” In 1986 Griffin sold the show, along with “Wheel of Fortune” (created shortly after) to The Coca Cola Company for a staggering $250 Million in cash.

Today, the landscape of programming and deal making is vastly different, and creating such simple concepts that haven’t already been produced is difficult. To our benefit, the outlets and opportunities for new TV shows is literally a hundred-fold what it was in the 60’s. Hollywood producers and development executives work full time to create or find those new concepts to sell to TV networks, and more and more are using the Internet to source new material.

The Television Writers Vault is a valuable tool being used by producers scouting new projects, and for writers (aspiring or professional) to market their concepts and scripts direct to the television industry. Writers can find professional advice on formulating concepts for today’s thriving and competitive programming world, as well as understand the inner-workings of the television industry to streamline projects in the most positive direction.

If you think being an outsider from Hollywood makes it impossible, I know first hand that’s not true. In my first year as a development executive at Merv Griffin Entertainment, I brought in a concept created by a journalist in Florida. The idea was written up in a two-page outline, and explored the simple idea; “How far will an ordinary person go to help a stranger in need?” The idea could have also been pitched as “Pay It Forward meets Candid Camera”. Our producers immediately saw the potential for comedy and entertainment value, and Merv signed the new writer to an option deal. The project was sold on our first pitch to Disney, and eventually packaged for production where it still sits.

Just recently, an aspiring writer from Alabama, Timothy Centner, sold 3 projects (all ideas for reality-based programming) to a producer who uses The Television Writers Vault for finding new projects. Prior to that, Jon Stewart of Illinois sold his idea for a reality-based program built around his own life to a head executive for Fox Television Studios.

You may have the most inspiring story or script any producer could read, but unless you can boil that story or concept into a brief synopsis with a highly marketable “logline”, a producer will never invest the time in reading the entire script or treatment, leaving no chance of any deal to be offered.
A “Logline” is a one or two sentence description that tells the basic idea and purpose of a show. Loglines for the sake of pitching a project are similar to a TV Guide description, but more specific in describing the idea of the show. This is the catalyst for increasing the odds of selling any script or idea to Hollywood.

A great logline should provoke interest and inspire the TV producer to see it’s potential. The following are examples of could-be loglines for current television shows:

– “Ordinary people face their fears by competing against each other in outrageously devised stunts” – Fear Factor

– “A likeable husband’s marriage and tolerance is tested by the constant intrusion of his overbearing parents and dim-witted brother” – Everybody Loves Raymond

– “Twenty women will court and compete to win the affections of one man who will narrow the selection until he must decide on his one true love.” – The Bachelor

– “Contestants’ general knowledge will be tested when given the answers to questions they must then form.” – Jeopardy