What Makes an Unscripted Show Attractive to a Cable or Streaming Buyer?

Hosted by ​Catherine Keithley

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​Catherine Keithley

Webinar hosted by: ​Catherine Keithley

Vice President of Current & Development at Brian Graden Media

Catherine Keithley is the Vice President of Current and Development at Brian Graden Media. She produced Season 1 of INSTANT INFLUENCER with James Charles for YouTube Originals, Seasons 1 - 4 of ESCAPE THE NIGHT for YouTube Originals starring Joey Graceffa, the hour special also for YouTube Originals BAND TOGETHER WITH LOGIC and season 1 of MS. T'S MUSIC FACTORY for Lifetime. She's sold and developed a number of shows for BGM at various stages of development, casting, presentations, and pilots for networks like Lifetime, NBC, BET, POP, E!, Bravo, GSN, A&E, Fullscreen, & YouTube Originals. Before joining BGM in 2013 as the first development hire, Catherine was a Development Associate for Ellen Rakieten (Executive Producer for THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW) & Tom Forman (Executive Producer for EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION, THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE & CATFISH: THE TV SHOW) at Ellen Rakieten Entertainment, a division of RELATIVITY TELEVISION (now Critical Content). During her time at Relativity, she helped develop shows like the Emmy Award winning, TRISHA'S SOUTHERN KITCHEN (Food Network), HOLLYWOOD GIRLS NIGHT (TV Guide), HIDEOUS HOUSES (A&E), TEEN TROUBLE (Lifetime), CELEBRITY DISH (Food Network) & PRETTY WICKED MOMS (Lifetime). Catherine started her career in talent management at The Collective Management Firm (now Studio71) in Beverly Hills. She was an executive assistant to a leading talent manager and handled day to day scheduling for clients like Michael Kenneth Williams, Margarita Levieva, Wilmer Valderrama, Eliza Dushku, June Diane Raphael, Cat Deeley, and Katherine Waterston. Catherine holds a B.A. in Cinematic Arts & Communication from the University of Southern California. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Unscripted (reality) television has burst onto cable and streaming platforms with a vengeance. In fact, reality seems to be everywhere these days with shows covering just about every subject imaginable. However, much has changed since the pioneers of reality TV came into people's living rooms (remember THE REAL WORLD and JOE MILLIONAIRE?). Gone are the days of simple formats allowing unfiltered access into the day to day lives of real people. Today, the networks and streamers are interested in shows providing a behind the curtain peak into all sorts of different subcultures. Mostly everyone can think of a time when they've thought "Wow, that would make a great reality TV" - But where do you start if you want to develop and pitch an unscripted show ?

The challenges in developing unscripted/reality shows are lengthy. Unscripted shows don’t have scripts or actors, and they deal with real people and the personal conflicts they deal with in navigating their work and personal lives. And, just like networks and streaming platforms have mandates for scripted shows, they also have mandates for unscripted shows. So, how do you plan and develop the trajectory of a show if it's not scripted? If you have a great concept and cast, it's your job to function as a producer - read: therapist and gatekeeper -  to prove that you can sustain the concept through multiple seasons. You have to make sure that you have a reliable cast that's on board with your vision. And you have to know how to sell that vision in a clear and winning fashion. This all begins by understanding what networks and the steaming platforms are looking for, who's programming what, what materials you will need to have in order to pitch, and how to put together a sizzle real and/or deck that rises above the rest.

Catherine Keithley is the Vice President of Current and Development at Brian Graden Media. She produced Season 1 of INSTANT INFLUENCER with James Charles for YouTube Originals, Seasons 1 - 4 of ESCAPE THE NIGHT for YouTube Originals starring Joey Graceffa, the hour special also for YouTube Originals BAND TOGETHER WITH LOGIC and season 1 of MS. T'S MUSIC FACTORY for Lifetime. She's sold and developed a number of shows for BGM at various stages of development, casting, presentations, and pilots for networks like Lifetime, NBC, BET, POP, E!, Bravo, GSN, A&E, Fullscreen, & YouTube Originals.

Catherine will teach you what makes a network interested in an unscripted show. You will learn how to pick "characters" that are watchable and whey they'd be attractive to a buyer. She'll go over the various genres that are produced for unscripted television and break them down by network. She will take you through what goes into development for each of the genres, including what materials you will need and what your sizzle needs to look like. She will even go into detail by network on who is buying what in unscripted - breaking down budget ranges so you're fully understanding on where your unscripted idea stands. 

 

You will see what types of characters stand out to a network, what your pitch deck needs to look like and how you can hook someone immediately with your sizzle. Catherine will give you all the tools you need to make your unscripted pitch sing.

 

"After working in unscripted selling to mostly all major networks, I'll help give you the insight into what it takes to pitch a winning unscripted idea that will get sold." 

- Catherine Keithley

What You'll Learn

  • What Makes a Network Interested in an Unscripted Show
    • What makes a show attractive to a buyer?
    • How do you come up with characters and a story that are watchable?
  • What Genres are Produced in Unscripted
    • What are each network’s buckets of programming?
    • List of networks and genres/formats/areas of interest
  • What Goes into Development For Each of these Unscripted Genres
    • What are the materials needed to pitch each genre and how do you make those attractive to a buyer?
    • Examples of sizzles on things produced at BGM that have sold for casting, presentation/pilot, or a series 

  • Who Is Buying What In Unscripted
    • What does the landscape look like right now?
    • Who is buying?
    • What are they buying?
    • Breaking down the budget ranges
    • Run through the network list of buyers and where they are right now
    • Live productions vs. talent-at-home productions
    • Understanding cast and crews for unscripted
  • Q&A with Catherine

About Your Instructor

Catherine Keithley is the Vice President of Current and Development at Brian Graden Media. She produced Season 1 of INSTANT INFLUENCER with James Charles for YouTube Originals, Seasons 1 - 4 of ESCAPE THE NIGHT for YouTube Originals starring Joey Graceffa, the hour special also for YouTube Originals BAND TOGETHER WITH LOGIC and season 1 of MS. T'S MUSIC FACTORY for Lifetime. She's sold and developed a number of shows for BGM at various stages of development, casting, presentations, and pilots for networks like Lifetime, NBC, BET, POP, E!, Bravo, GSN, A&E, Fullscreen, & YouTube Originals.

Before joining BGM in 2013 as the first development hire, Catherine was a Development Associate for Ellen Rakieten (Executive Producer for THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW) & Tom Forman (Executive Producer for EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION, THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE & CATFISH: THE TV SHOW) at Ellen Rakieten Entertainment, a division of RELATIVITY TELEVISION (now Critical Content). During her time at Relativity, she helped develop shows like the Emmy Award winning, TRISHA'S SOUTHERN KITCHEN (Food Network), HOLLYWOOD GIRLS NIGHT (TV Guide), HIDEOUS HOUSES (A&E), TEEN TROUBLE (Lifetime), CELEBRITY DISH (Food Network) & PRETTY WICKED MOMS (Lifetime).

Catherine started her career in talent management at The Collective Management Firm (now Studio71) in Beverly Hills. She was an executive assistant to a leading talent manager and handled day to day scheduling for clients like Michael Kenneth Williams, Margarita Levieva, Wilmer Valderrama, Eliza Dushku, June Diane Raphael, Cat Deeley, and Katherine Waterston.

Catherine holds a B.A. in Cinematic Arts & Communication from the University of Southern California.

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