The Four Steps To A TV Series Order: From Concept To Green Light

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Taught by John Lehr


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Class hosted by: John Lehr

Star, Creator and Writer at 10 Items or Less (TBS), JailBait (Sony/Crackle) and Quickdraw (Hulu)

John Lehr is the creator and star of 10 ITEMS OR LESS on TBS, JAILBAIT on Sony/Crackle, and QUICKDRAW on Hulu.  He has created and produced pilots for Fox, TBS, and Comedy Central and had script and development deals with NBC, HBO, MTV, Sony, BBC, and more. John has appeared in numerous television series, including FRIENDS, and was a series regular on JESSE, both for Warner Brothers/NBC. His feature film roles include THE SWEETEST THING, three Noah Baumbach films, KICKING AND SCREAMING, MR. JEALOUSY, and HIGHBALL. Full Bio »


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Learn from a top showrunner who's worked with Hulu, Sony, TBS, Norman Lear, the creators of FRIENDS, and more!

Plus! Participate in a mock network executive meeting!

When you have an idea for a TV show, the goal is always to have it "ordered to series" so you can see it on air and have a large audience experience it. We are still in the age of the “Content Gold Rush," and there are more series being ordered and produced than ever before in history. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, you need to be prepared and know everything that goes into not only developing and selling a series but how to navigate it all the way to an actual series order.

Whether you’re a brand new writer, an experienced producer, or someone working their way up the ladder, the big question is always: How do I develop my show and make it stand out so that it can sell and get a series order?

In this exclusive Stage 32 class, television series creator John Lehr will teach you the entire journey from crafting a stand-out idea to selling your show to developing it with a streamer or network and, ultimately, getting the green light for a first season production order. 

Over four interactive sessions, John will take you through the steps of developing and producing a marketable show. You'll start by nurturing your concept into a well rounded show idea and then learning the best way to pitch it, package it, sell it and navigate the development steps with your distributor to get a first season order. John will show you how to work with network executives to achieve your goals.

John has successfully created, pitched, sold, and executive produced shows for TBS, Hulu, and Sony/Crackle. He also created and produced pilots for Fox and Comedy Central and has pitched and developed shows for NBC, HBO, MTV, and Sony/BBC. He's also worked with legendary television creators, including Norman Lear and FRIENDS' Kevin Bright, David Crane, and Marta Kauffman. 

If you attend the live webcasts of this class, you’ll even have the opportunity to ask John any questions you have about developing, selling, and navigating your series to success. You'll also participate in a mock network meeting so you are prepared to work with executives.

John is sharing his 25 years of entertainment business experience with you exclusively through Stage 32. This is a rare opportunity to work with a top showrunner to see how professional television series creators take their ideas all the way to your television screen. 

Testimonials from John's Previous Stage 32 Education:

"John was energetic and very positive and encouraging. I appreciated his perspective and advice."

"John is great - emphasizing the sizzle reel was very helpful to hear."

"[John's] information about the pitch deck, sizzle, and experiences were incredibly helpful."

What You'll Learn

Session 1 - The Creation

In week one, we will focus on the primary element — the idea itself. A creator must balance their original POV into a construct that can efficiently communicate with an audience. These framing devices or “hooks” are the engine that allows the audience to enjoy the creator’s original characters, narratives, and concepts. In today’s market, audiences vary widely from the traditional network mass audience to the niche audiences on streamers. We will focus on how to best assess your options in terms of building a show that appeals to a wide variety of buyers.

  • Creating an environment that exploits character dynamics
  • Why your main character needs a superpower
  • Which aspects of your concept should be developed for the pitch
  • How to use a sizzle reel to help create and enhance your show

Q&A with John

Session 2 - The Pitch

No matter how great an idea is, if it can’t be presented clearly and efficiently, it will not get out of the gate. In session 2, we will discuss the elements of a successful pitch: the sizzle reel, the pitch deck, and the leave-behind. We will look at real-world examples with an eye on what to emulate and what to avoid. Buyers hear dozens of pitches, and there are certain standards that they will expect. At the same time, you want to create a pitch structure that is unique to your project.

  • Why a sizzle reel is not a pilot
  • What to send out before a pitch meeting
  • The do’s and don’ts of a pitch deck
  • The use of visuals and recognizable talent in a pitch
  • Under what circumstances should a leave behind be left behind?

Q&A with John

Session 3 - The Sale

A pitch is essentially a sales proposal that requires a well-rehearsed bullet-proof presentation. This begins with a team that convinces executives to risk their jobs by banking millions of dollars on you and your creation. While some pitches only require the creator in the room, this is rare. In this session, we will discuss how to package your pitch with the right team members. Preparation is the key, and we will also discuss rehearsal and participate in mock executive Q & As.

  • Creative ways to reach out to talent to attach to your project
  • Leveraging your assets to attract representation
  • How to discover which elements are missing from your team
  • When and how to attach a showrunner
  • Overall pitfalls

Q&A with John

Session 4 - The Pilot

In this final class, we discuss the wonderful challenge of navigating a pilot. A development and/or script deal can be a daunting experience as one attempts to get the best deal possible while remaining sane. Afterwards the real work begins, and we will consider the pilot outline through the first two drafts and polish. Particular emphasis will be placed on addressing executive notes and the importance of demonstrating a desire to be collaborative. How do we take notes, no matter how off-putting, so the executive feels heard while making the project better at the same time?

  • Strategies to address the exhaustion factor
  • Network notes — what to expect and how to navigate
  • Polishing a pilot with an eye toward a series of pickup

Q&A with John


PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 class will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good.

  • This class is designed for all-level writers and TV creatives - beginner, intermediate and advanced who are looking to develop and sell a television series.
  • This is an intimate, in-depth, practical, and detailed class held on Zoom, where you will be interacting with your instructor.
  • Your instructor will be available on email during the 4 sessions to answer any questions you have about your project.
  • You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward.
  • Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a dedicated Stage 32 Lounge post where you can meet, connect and communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the length of the class and beyond. Let Stage 32 help you find your tribe!
  • Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at for more information.

About Your Instructor

John Lehr is the creator and star of 10 ITEMS OR LESS on TBS, JAILBAIT on Sony/Crackle, and QUICKDRAW on Hulu.  He has created and produced pilots for Fox, TBS, and Comedy Central and had script and development deals with NBC, HBO, MTV, Sony, BBC, and more.

John has appeared in numerous television series, including FRIENDS, and was a series regular on JESSE, both for Warner Brothers/NBC. His feature film roles include THE SWEETEST THING, three Noah Baumbach films, KICKING AND SCREAMING, MR. JEALOUSY, and HIGHBALL.


Tuesday, December 6th – 3pm-5pm PST

Thursday, December 8th– 3pm-5pm PST

Tuesday, December 13th – 3pm-5pm PST

Thursday, December 15th – 3pm-5pm PST


Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to re-watch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!


If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

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