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Old 12-06-2016, 04:10 PM   #1
Mintclub
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Default Pilot response time with Networks?

Howdy all,

I have a pilot and bible that the producers and my agents are planning to take into the networks after the holidays and am a tad curious if anybody else on DD has been in a similar situation and can perhaps shed some light on this for me?

I'm a London based writer see, so not all that familiar with tv land in the states. I've had pilots go into UK networks and they are notoriously sloooow to come back with a thumbs up/ thumbs down (often up to 2 months for response times) I've also had a few feature scripts go out to all the major US studios which is why I'm asking as their response times were much quicker.

Last edited by Mintclub : 01-13-2017 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

to the extent that this is pilot season for broadcast networks, the decisions tend to be made fairly quickly. scripts that go to pilot have to be shot in time for the network to make a pickup decision before the upfronts in May.

but streaming and cable have more year-round development cycles that don't necessarily conform to the same schedule as networks.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

It takes as long as it takes.

I know people for whom the process has dragged out between networks who share the same ownership for over a year. But broadcast networks make most of their decisions pretty quickly.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

Thanks for the helpful replies folks.

Aside from the networks and given the time of year are the studios likely to read incoming projects quickly, like they would a feature spec? I once had two major studios pass on a feature spec within half a day. Wondered if tv studios had the same urgency for available properties?
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

Typically buying and development season doesn't start until summer. Right now they should be looking at projects they bought last year to see which ones they want to shoot as pilots, I doubt they are looking at new stuff for the most part. And most of the time a studio takes the show or pitch into a network and you don't go straight into a network because networks don't finance shows, studios do.

There are exceptions to every rule but this is generally how the season and timing work.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducky1288 View Post
Typically buying and development season doesn't start until summer. Right now they should be looking at projects they bought last year to see which ones they want to shoot as pilots, I doubt they are looking at new stuff for the most part. And most of the time a studio takes the show or pitch into a network and you don't go straight into a network because networks don't finance shows, studios do.

There are exceptions to every rule but this is generally how the season and timing work.
Thanks Ducky, this is interesting to know.

Guessing my agency think slightly differently about the market re buyers looking for new material at this time of year, as they were keen to hold off until January.

I was always of the assumption that January was a good month for pilot specs because it's when a large number of summer projects that have gone from pitch, to outline, to script don't quite land with the networks and so (unhappy with how those projects have turned out) they're then on the hunt for fresh, replacement material for their rosters. A quick glance at DDP's deals archive from last year (for example) and January was the 4th highest month for new tv projects.

Last edited by Mintclub : 01-13-2017 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

Maybe they try to buy up a couple more projects if they aren't happy, but I'm not sure it's a common thing. Each studio buys upwards of 50 pitches and projects so I imagine they don't have too much trouble sending 8-10 to pilot. A lot of those come with penalties if they don't at least shoot the pilot so they might order just to avoid that.

Either way, if your reps said this is good then they will send it. I still think studios would be before networks but...

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

It depends on the networks. Premium cable, many cable networks, and streaming services buy year round...
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

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Originally Posted by LRic54 View Post
It depends on the networks. Premium cable, many cable networks, and streaming services buy year round...
True. I assumed when the OP said "networks" they meant broadcast since usually that's what people mean when they say network. Normally when people are referring to the cable networks they will say "cable" or "cable networks". But cable and streaming does buy year around. But as I mentioned before, you usually need a studio that has bought the pitch/script that is taking it into a network. Unless it's Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon which funds their own projects generally.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pilot response time with Networks?

Another novice question re the US studio system for tv land: When a script goes into a studio, let's say for example a Warners, Legendary, Lionsgate, UCP etc is there a large chain of folk who read it before they decide whether to meet with the writers/ producers and discuss further or is it literally one person? I appreciate if your producer is Scott Rudin or the writer on the project is a Sorkin/ Lee Daniels it'll most likely go to the top dog but for us mere mortals is it a longer chain of decision makers to get through before any potential meeting?
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