View Full Version : Cooking Show
05-09-2002, 12:31 AM
Does anyone know the appropriate way to approach the Cooking Channel and/or PBS with an idea for a new type of cooking show?
Since this concept includes working with a specific handsome, charismatic chef with an entertainment background, who currently owns and operates two successful restaurants in two different midwestern cities (so he wouldn't be known to TV execs in either New York or LA), I'm assuming the best way to do this is to shoot a pilot or sample (not sure which would be the correct term for a cooking show) and submit that along with an outline of ideas for some magic number (12 to 20??) of additional shows.
Is this correct? If not, what would be a better approach?
Any idea where I might find resource material on pitching/developing a cooking show concept?
I got involved with this because I make my living as a freelance industrial video writer/producer. The chef approached me about helping him develop and produce what I think is a very workable and exciting concept. Creating the pilot would be no problem, as long as it's acceptable for it to be shot on Beta SP, but I have no experience or contacts with network television, so I'm not sure about the best and most realistic way to approach this.
As a result, any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
05-09-2002, 12:42 AM
Instead of a pilot, you might be better off producing a highly polished 5-8 minute promo reel that features-
- the chef making one dish in the style of the proposed show
- a brief interview with the chef explaining his approach to cooking and the show
- a brief bio of the chef and profile of the restaurants
(Let them commission a pilot once they buy off on the concept)
Also prepare some print material about the show- something slick and impressive that sells your show almost as well as the video.
Watch the shows on the Food Channel and PBS and other cable networks that might feature cooking shows and look for the names of the Executives in Charge of Production.
Once you have the tape in hand, call these Execs and ask if they would like to see the tape. If you can't get past their secretary be very nice and say "well maybe you can help me" and ask them if you can send the tape to so-so.
FedEx the tape and the print material for next day delivery. Follow up a few days later if you do not hear back.
05-09-2002, 07:16 AM
Truly excellent suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to make them. You've been very helpful.
I have a meeting with the chef today and will discuss these ideas with him.
05-10-2002, 02:31 PM
I have written a cooking show which I am pitching next week (in Canada), up here I've been told to flush out 13-16 episodes work and then align yourself with a producer, then pitch to the network.
05-10-2002, 04:31 PM
It might be appropriate for an established prod co to make a multi- episode plan for a network sitcom before pitching it but it seems a little too much for a cooking show that has not even had an initial pitch yet.
The initial pitch should be enough to capture the attention of the network or prod co, enough to get them to want to see more (and maybe even provide a budget to develop the concept further).
05-20-2002, 09:37 AM
Providing choices is the key to making a show, in other words making sure your idea has legs. I pitched and they've decided to shoot pilot.
You might consider sending an idea for a segment to the Martha Stewart studio in CT. They always need/are interested in new segments and <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> absolute nobodies<!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> have approached the company with interesting ideas, been featured and have had resounding success afterword. After all, they need to fill an hour a day, week after week. It might be worth a try--give your chef a portion of a reel and national exposure.
And nope, don't care whether you love/hate Martha. If you don't like her, more for me. :b But, all joking aside, honestly--it might be worth a try. Good luck!
05-21-2002, 12:06 AM
How wonderful! Congratulations on the go ahead with the pilot. I'm not sure I understand what you meant when you wrote it's important to have options. Perhaps that having 13 - 16 episodes fleshed out was crucial... or that they wanted you to come in with several different approaches from which they could pick and choose? Or do you mean something entirely different? Please elaborate.
Thanks for your excellent suggestion and for taking the time to make it.
As an FYI, this is a first-hand account about how Eleanora Scarpetta approached MS--I believe she's had a book offer since--and is writing or in the process of publishing a cookbook:
It all started on a summer afternoon after I completed making my 300 jars of tomatoes. My next door neighbors encouraged me to write a letter to Martha asking her if I can demonstrate my canning techniques on tomatoes.
Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by Martha’s staff, asking to come over so they could interview me to see what I was all about. They were definitely impressed with my canning techniques and were also impressed with my knowledge of cooking. They decided to take the show a little further by suggesting that I bring them to the places I shop for tomatoes. I took them down to Arthur Avenue, the real Little Italy of the Bronx, where we visited the vendors from whom I buy my beautiful red tomatoes.
In addition to that, Martha wanted me to show her how I make chicken cacciatori. Without any reservation, I automatically became her huntress and went gathering all the special ingredients which makes this old traditional recipe so special.
The first show was aired on September 8 which included 3 segments: 1st--shopping on Arthur Ave; 2nd--the canning process; and 3rd--making my chicken cacciatori.
Well, the show was a hit, and my recipe made the November issue of the Martha Stewart Living as one of the best recipes of the month. Needless to say, I was extremely happy and pleased that all went well.
05-21-2002, 10:01 AM
My belief is that having a road map for the show is essential but this comes after you completely understand your own idea. Does your show offer something unique to the network you envision seeing yourself on? I started by looking at what the Food Network needed and developed my idea form there. You flush out the episodes long after your idea is concrete and even then then idea is never really set in stone as you should always be tweaking.
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