by Peter M. Gordon
Two questions for your consideration: “What are the networks looking for?” I also ask cable networks a similar question — “What shows do you want to air?”
It’s tough for most networks to answer that question except in the most general terms. Even if you have aimed your network at a particular audience segment — for example, Women 25-49, or men 35+ with average incomes of $75,000 per year — your audience is always changing and evolving. Women ages 25-49 do share similar interests in products, for example, but they don’t all buy the exact same products. Each member of that group is a person making their own individual choices. Every year, fashions change, tastes change, and a network needs to evolve with their audience or lost them.
While network executives can usually articulate what sorts of shows they will consider, they are also willing to push the envelope if that means they can add a hit show. For example, MTV started as Music Television. When was the last time you saw music videos on MTV in prime time? The network changed, because their audience’s taste changed
So the answer to the question, “what do networks want?” is simple. They want hits. But no one really knows for sure where the next hit show is coming from. So in my opinion you shouldn’t spend a lot of time tailoring your idea for a specific network in the beginning. Create as strong an ida as possible. Prove to the network that you have a potential hit for them. Then what will the networks want? They will want you.