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Selling already produced TV episodes

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ron darbySelling already produced TV episodes
by on Dec 20, 2008 at 5:40:40 am

I am the creator, writer, shooter, and editor for a ½ hour TV show called “The Pet Hui”.(Hui means group in Hawaiian) It airs locally here in Hawaii on time Warner. Unfortunately the market here is to small to get a budget big enough to hire help, but it pays my bills. I get great comments from people who watch it. I produce 2 shows a month.

I have over 20 episodes that have aired and are just sitting on the shelf. I would like to repurpose these shows some how.

I worked my way into Hawaii’s market, but not sure how to get to the mainland market. Are there agents that help sell TV shows, if so, how do I find such a person? Am I to small potatoes for them? I am also goggling for TV stations that my pet show might fit in with. I am also looking over the Animal Planets submission form, but I think my show might not be up to their specs.

I plan on spending the next 4 weeks researching and marketing my show.

Anyone have any ideas I would appreciated it.

You can see samples of The Pet Hui at

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Bob BonniolRe: Selling already produced TV episodes
by on Dec 29, 2008 at 12:10:55 am

Well... If the epsidodes are High Definition, I'd be stunned if you couldn't sell them to Mark Cuban's HD network. They buy just about any HD content they can find. They don't really pay very well, but...

Your production values are pretty great (I went and looked)... Espisode format is click and well done... You might also check TLC and Discovery Networks... They can be hard to market to though. The more viable route can be to market to the production companies that feed these networks. Tiger Aspect sells Extreme Trains to Discovery, and they syndicate documentary style shows globally. Original Productions is the king daddy in this sector: they do Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Monster Garage... Then there's Original Media (don't confuse them)... They do LA Ink, Miami Ink, some others... Here's the thing to do: Research the kind of shows that are similiar to yours. Find out what networks broadcast them absolutely... But maybe better is to find out what Production Companies actually produce them... Then go pitch those production companies.

Good Luck.

Bob Bonniol

MODE Studios
Contributing Editor, Entertainment Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader

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ron darbyRe: Selling already produced TV episodes
by on Dec 30, 2008 at 5:14:31 pm

Thanks Bob for taking the time to check out my youtube. About half of the episodes are in HD because I just up-graded to the EX3. Thanks for the contact info and ideas, I am going to start on them after New Years.
Thanks again
Ron Darby

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Chris BlairRe: Selling already produced TV episodes
by on Jan 1, 2009 at 1:19:04 am

We've produced some sample pilots and pitched them around in the past. One was a show about beer called "What's On Tap." We produced a 17 minute show (yes I know it was short on time), complete with a very experienced host with loads of credits..including parts in major motion pictures, voice work and hundreds of TV commercials.

It had 4 or 5 very entertaining segments. It was very highly produced and well written, had slick, composited opens, bumps, teasers etc...and had a very light, fun tone. We had many people watch it and give us feedback and suggestions for changes before we submitted it to anyone. We provided extensive budgets, production schedules, commitments from key production personnel (many with years of experience and some with existing network programming credits).

Yet...many networks wouldn't even accept it for submission unless we had an agent...and the network you think it would've been perfect for, The Food Network, said and I quote: "the subject matter doesn't fit our core goal of being a unique lifestyle network."

Discovery Networks accepted it and liked the sample enough to assign an executive producer and producer (from TLC) to the project for us to work with. But they wanted us to deliver 20 episodes before they'd agree to anything financially...which was going to cost us between $500,000 and $1 million to produce (each show's budget was between $25-$50,000 depending on the amount of travel. We didn't have the money and banks laughed at us when we contacted them about a loan, even with letters of commitment from TLC.

What's even MORE interesting; the programming chief at Discovery at the time told us he had 6 OTHER proposals on his desk for shows about beer, with FOUR of them also called "What's on Tap."

Obviously, they thought our show idea, formatting and sample was good enough to pursue, but getting a show on the air that appeals to a mass audience can be a very difficult road.

That said...with your shows produced and ready to go, it could be an attractive, niche type program for a second tier cable network. So it certainly couldn't hurt shopping it around. Most networks have program submission guidelines that you can readily obtain by giving them a call. That's all we did to networks like Bravo, Discovery (encompasses about a dozen networks), Food Channel, A&E, Playboy Channel, & Fine Living. I'd bet many have information online about it as well.

Good Luck to you!

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN

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