It’s time for Episode 107! And to celebrate, we’re taking you all the way back to Episode 6 (ah, so long ago.) Pitches come in every day framed as family-centered docuseries. How can you make yours stand out? We checked our own advice, looking back at the six traits that Reality TV characters must have to be pitch-ready. How do these traits translate to the real world when pitching family-based shows? Well, to help answer that, we’re taking a look at one of the most successful family-based TV shows of all time. Today, we explore how the cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians exemplifies each trait. But we also explain that a family doesn’t need to be rich and famous to carry at TV Show. Everything you want to know about pitching the family-based docuseries is here…including where you can see the ORIGINAL pitch tape that sold Keeping Up with the Kardashians!
TV Shows Need Great Families and Great Hooks
The industry sees plenty of families pitched as “the next Kardashians” (we get these at least a few times a week.) This is usually not helpful, and, honestly, inaccurate. Because no one should pitch “the next Kardashians” – they should pitch families who are “the next big thing.” But in doing so, you have to be able to articulate exactly why a family is ready for a mass audience.
Fact is, few people realize what makes the Kardashians a TV show. Sure, you’ve got drama and interesting characters. But there’s also businesses and celebrities and long backstories revealing how the family got to where they are today. All amazing aspects that make for great television over the past 11 years.
That said, when pitching these kinds of docuseries, families don’t have to be celebrities or “celeb-adjacent.” So what makes a new family TV worthy?
Six Traits of Successful TV Characters – Including The Kardashians
Way back in episode 6, we told you about the six must-have traits of reality TV characters:
- They’re unique
- These characters bring an extraordinary perspective to the ordinary
- The character is someone you can build trust with
- They don’t self-censor
- They’re not in it for the money
- They fit somewhere on the TV landscape
So how do the Kardashians meet these six requirements? And how can families you pitch stand out by focussing on these six traits?
Some of what we discuss today:
- Who are the Kardashians (in case you’ve been living under a rock!)
- What makes the Kardashians stand out among other families vying for Reality TV real estate
- Where to find story engine inspiration for your family centered docuseries
- What exactly is a “Momager” (Biagio had no idea)
- How you can watch the original pitch tape that sold the show to E! in 2007 (you never see these!)
- And…Where you can read about the early days and wild ride that lead to our company, Joke Productions
Press that giant “Play” button at the top of the page, and learn everything you need to know about pitching family-based docuseries and reality shows.
Helpful and Related Links
Read about the wild journey that lead to our company, Joke Productions in this month’s Realscreen magazine, including a shocking admission from Biagio! (Hint, has to do with how the company got its name.)
Want to know more about what makes a good Reality TV character? Check out Episode 6 – Your Characters: 6 Must-Have Traits of Reality TV Characters and Documentary Subjects
The actual pitch tape that sold Keeping Up with the Kardashians! Check out the E! 10th anniversary Kardashian special for that and other interesting tidbits from the cast (AND CREW!) as well as what goes into making the show. If you don’t have a lot of time, skip ahead to the 7 minute mark to see the original pitch tape. It’s very rare to see the actual tapes that sell shows, so be sure to check it out!
Check out our two free ebooks, How to Pitch a Realty Show, and Unscripted Television: 100 Tips for Breaking in and Career Success
Let’s Make Some TV Together
Are you looking to pitch your own unscripted television project, true crime documentary series or reality TV show? Maybe you have the next great family-based docuseries? Want us to take a look? Here’s what to do next:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.