What’s the Best Genre for a TV Pilot?

Another television writing question answered by TV Consultant Joey

Q: What’s the best genre for a television pilot?

Networks and studios love procedurals (crime solving, medical cases, legal cases, etc.) because they allow a close-ended story every week and they repeat extremely well in syndication (e.g. Law & Order.)

Writers, well, we love serials (Lost, Big Love, 24) where you invest in the characters and have to watch every week to find out what happens.  These shows do not repeat well, and the audience tends to drop off from season to season — which makes them less appealing from a financial perspective.

What everyone is looking for now are hybrid shows.  Where there is a procedural aspect, but there’s an ongoing character drama also.  A GOOD WIFE is a great example.  There’s the weekly legal case, but there’s also Alicia’s love triangle and Peter’s campaign that are ongoing.  A writer should try to find a world for his/her story where he/she can tell a complete story from beginning to end each week and still create a compelling story arc for the entire season also.

And if you have a brilliant idea that has no procedural element to it, try to find a way to work one in.  Think about the flashbacks from LOST (those provided a complete story each week) or the weekly death on SIX FEET UNDER.  Something that will set some sort of pattern or formula for the episodes to follow.

Good luck!

-Joey

Got a television writing question?  Don’t hesitate – ask!  joey@scriptdoctoreric.com

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