How to Submit Show Ideas to Network Television

By Stephen A. Powell ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Television program idea
  • Television program treatment

Submitting show ideas to television networks requires patience, effort and strong connections in the entertainment industry. While you might be able to submit a show idea directly to a network in the form of a treatment, you might require the assistance of a screenwriting agent. Provided your show idea is exceptional, you can get it heard by network executives if you are diligent enough.

Write a treatment, which is a concise synopsis of your show idea that includes descriptions of characters and plot. Treatments are the primary medium through which show ideas are presented to TV producers and executives. Consult a sample treatment in screenwriting applications such as Final Draft to familiarize yourself with format and find one that you are comfortable using.

Determine which network or networks to which you want to submit your show idea. Take into account the nature of your programming as you determine which networks may be most interested in your treatment.

Learn the submission guidelines for every network you are interested in. Some networks accept unsolicited treatments and show pitches. Others require that you have an agent or other talent representation, such as an entertainment lawyer. Follow the proper procedure for each network.

Find an agent. Screenwriting agents help get show ideas placed with TV networks. Hold off on sending out your treatment independently until you find an agent if you would rather have one. Visit the Writers Guild of America link in the Resources section below to find a list of agencies that represent screenwriters. Visit these agencies’ websites to get background on their services and policies. Contact the companies that interest you and follow their protocol for talent recruitment, such as submission of your treatment or interviews.


Protect your show idea by registering your treatment with an organization such as Writers Guild of America.

Establish a network of professionals who enjoy your work. Networking with other writers and media professionals can lead to important discussions with producers and production companies through which you may share your show ideas.

Develop content independently to draw attention to your abilities. Produce a blog, or video shorts for media sharing sites like YouTube. These may bring TV networks, producers and agents to you, as opposed to seeking them out.

About the Author

Stephen A. Powell is a tenured, versatile music writer based in New York. After honing his skills at St. John's University and City College (CUNY), Powell took his writing and media development services to XXL Magazine, SiTV and One Networks among other media outlets. Powell's love of language arts and desire to help others realize their full creative potential are pervasive throughout his work.