Development is a large and central part of the American TV industry, and yet the details of how it works – who makes development decisions and why, where ideas for new shows come from, even basics like the differences between what TV studios and TV networks do – remain elusive to many.
In this book, lecturer and acclaimed television producer Bob Levy offers a detailed introduction to television development, the process by which the Hollywood TV industry creates new scripted series. Written both for students and industry professionals, Television Development serves as a comprehensive introduction to all facets of the development process: the terminology, timelines, personnel and industrial processes that take a new TV project from idea to pitch to script to pilot to series. In addition to describing these processes, Levy also examines creative strategies for successful development, and teaches readers how to apply these strategies to their own careers and speak the language of development across all forms of visual storytelling.
Written by the renowned producer responsible for developing and executive producing Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, Television Development is an essential starting point for students, executives, agents, producers, directors and writers to learn how new series are created. Accompanying online material includes sample pitches, pilot scripts, and other development documents.
A companion website for the book is available here: https://www.tvboblevy.com/
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: Development and the Structure of the Hollywood TV Industry
CHAPTER 2: The Industrial Process of TV Development (From Pitch to Upfronts)
CHAPTER 3: Format, Genre and Concept
CHAPTER 4: What Make Series Go: "Story Engines," "Franchises" and "Series Drives"
CHAPTER 5: Concept Ideation, "Areas" and "Takes"
CHAPTER 6: Assessing the Marketplace
CHAPTER 7: Pitching New Pilots and Series
CHAPTER 8: Developing the Pilot Script
CHAPTER 9: Packaging and Politics: The Role of Agents in TV Development
CHAPTER 10: Other Development Strategies
CHAPTER 11: Case Study: The Tortuous 5-Year Development of One Hit Show
CHAPTER 12: The Culture of TV Development
CHAPTER 13: Preparing for Careers in TV Development
CHAPTER 14: Applying TV Development Strategies to Other Forms of Filmed Storytelling
CHAPTER 15: What's Next? TV Development in the Age of Media Disruption
APPENDIX: Glossary of TV Development Terminology
Bob Levy has worked in television for more than 30 years and has been practicing development at the highest levels of the television industry for 25 years. He is best known for developing and executive producing the hit shows Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. He also currently serves as a lecturer at UCLA, teaching TV development in the Producers Program of their graduate film school.
"Levy pulls back the curtain and reveals how Hollywood creates new TV series. With decades of experience as a producer and network development exec, he knows all the secrets and shares them in this excellent, comprehensive book!"
—Neil Landau, Assistant Dean, Dean’s Special Programs and Co-Director, MFA Screenwriting Program, Writing for Television, UCLA School of Theatre, Film & Television
"Anyone who hopes to create a hit show needs to learn how to write and how to navigate the Hollywood TV development process. Levy's book is the only book that explains the Hollywood development process in detail, and it’s awesome!"
—Kevin Williamson, Creator of Tell Me a Story and Dawson's Creek; Co-creator of The Vampire Diaries; Writer of Scream
"Levy’s book is a terrific resource full of detailed insider information on how to create a new series—the best guide to the subject I’ve seen."
—Evan Smith, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University