The Ultimate Guide To Pitching A Reality TV Show (2022)

You probably came across a reality television show in your life or maybe you grew up a big fan of one.

With so many different shows and different formats, it’s normal to be curious about Reality TV Shows. After all, they’ve been doing really well on streamers and on networks for years. 

Once you have created your reality TV show, prepare a complete pitch deck of it to present it. After it, get feedback from your closest people, and afterwards you can finally pitch it to the companies we are listing in this post.

Let’s take a look at what makes a reality TV show, how to create one and where to pitch your reality show idea.

What Is A Reality TV Show?

A reality TV show is an unscripted (or at least somewhat unscripted) show showcasing real-life situations. 

This genre became extremely successful in the 90s with shows such as “The Real World.” Other shows followed in the early  2000s and became world wide franchises such as “Big Brother”, “Survivor” or “The Voice.” 

As you might have noticed, there are different types of reality TV shows. 

Here’s a look at the most famous variations of a reality show:

  • The dating Reality Show (Love is Blind, The Bachelor, The Ultimatum,…)
  • The Gaming Reality Show (Who is The Mole, Dancing with the Stars, Ink Master, The Voice,…)
  • Cultural Reality Show (Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Queer Eye, The Real Housewives,…)
  • Food Reality Show (Top Chef, The Final Table, Nailed It, Hell’s Kitchen,…)
  • Survival Reality Show (Survivor, Alone, …)

What Is The Difference Between A Reality TV Show And A Scripted TV Show?

The main differences between a Reality TV show and a scripted TV show is that the Reality TV show has a very clear goal and end. You cannot keep the participants forever like you would do for a scripted show that could last for years (in most cases at least).

Reality TV shows usually end with one winner who gets something (money, prize, love, …)

In reality TV shows, the participants (usually) keep their real names, professions, age, etc. We see real people surrounded by cameras. In scripted shows, the entirety of each of the characters is created and played by different actors. 

One last thing to note is that a scripted show is usually there to entertain the audience and has clear narrative arcs, while the Reality TV show depends on the contestant and can lead to complete surprises and unexpected moments (such as a participant being expelled for bad behavior).

Get Feedback On Your Reality TV Show 

Before you take your reality TV show out it’s crucial to get feedback on it. You want to submit the concept, logline and format to a bunch of people you trust. See how your friends, family, and other writers react to the format. Do they like what they hear? Do they add ideas to it that you could use in your pitch? Does it seem to be an idea that excites them? A Reality TV show needs a strong concept and format to get picked up by a producer or network. 

Additionally, if your reality show can be expanded and become a franchise that can be made globally, that’s even better (and a lot more money for everyone involved in its creation as well). 

Find The Right Producers

When you pick producers for your reality TV show, it’s crucial to pick producers who have done reality TV shows before. 

Avoid producers that have only ever done scripted because they most likely will pass on a reality TV show unless it can be turned into a scripted show.

Luckily, there are several ways that you can find the right producers:

Virtual Pitch Fest is a great resource to find who is looking for what. There are hundreds of companies listed and you can even buy written pitches, meaning you will be able to write a quick pitch to these producers and through VPF, they will have up to three days to answer and either pass or request to hear more.

IMDB Pro is a fantastic tool to find information about any show and any producer, writer or director out there. A great way to find production companies is to look at who is behind similar shows. 

For example, if your show idea is a Reality TV show about love, you can look up all the other Reality TV shows about love (Love is Blind, The Bachelor, The Ultimatum, Love at First Sight, etc.) and find out which producers are behind it. 

Sometimes, these producers will have an email address listed on their IMDB profile which will allow you to approach them directly with your written pitch.

Who Buys Reality TV shows? 

So… right now what companies are buying Reality TV? 

With a quick search, I’m able to find a list of producers (and managers) interested in Reality TV shows such as:

100% Terry Cloth (Chill Factor, I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single)

HEROmation (Happy Feet, Devils Angels and Dating)

Stowaway Entertainment (Top Chef, Blind Date)

Scope Talent Management (Managers)

As far as streamers, Netflix has an entire department dedicated to Reality TV shows (and they’re fantastic!) Hulu, Paramount, CNBC, MTV are all buyers too. And depending on the subgenre, ESPN or History Channel might also be interesting places to contact. 

We’re wrapping up this article by reminding you that what matters the most when doing Reality TV is your concept and format. What will keep the audience wanting more? What will keep the audience engaged? 

Once you have a truly powerful Reality TV idea and a strongly executed pitch deck, get online and look through production companies that have done similar shows. Most likely, they’ll want to hear you out because everyone wants the next bingeable Reality Show. And we can’t wait to watch yours!

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