1. The Pitch
Begins June or July for broadcast networks (pitching generally happens from June – Sept). The creator pitches to a studio. Often, one will pitch to a producer first, and then the producer has a deal with a particular studio to bring the project to the studio. If one gets studio backing, then one goes to a network. A studio may have a corporate affiliation with a network (like Warner Bros and The CW). So: Producer-> Studio -> Network
2. In the Fall, if a pitch is accepted, it becomes outlined, which hopefully become a pilot script. Pitch -> Pilot Script.
3. The Script
Around Halloween, the networks will order pilot scripts (or actual pilots sometimes). Writers attempt to get a first draft of pilot scripts to the networks by Thanksgiving. Studios and networks then weigh in with their thoughts/preferences. Writers try to hand in a revised draft of the pilot script before the holidays in December, or before the second week of January at the latest.
4. The networks’ options (mostly quoting from The Whole Crazy Process of Creating a TV Show, From Pitch to Pilot):
A. "Put pilot commitment": The network pretty much promises to film the pilot, unless the script turns out to be just unfilmable.
B. "Script order with penalty": Similarly, the network promises to order the pilot after it gets the script — or if they don't, the producers could get anywhere up to a seven-figure sum.
C. "Pilot order": The network is ordering the filming of the pilot, possibly after having seen a script.
D. "Direct to series order": The network will order the production of 13 episodes up front, even without seeing a pilot. This makes sense when a show has such huge set-up costs, it doesn't make sense to spend that much money to film just a pilot. (Note: The show begins to staff a writers’ room to develop the next 8-12 scripts after the pilot, and hiring actors, crew, and directors for the greenlit show.)
E. "On-air commitment": The network promises to put the show on television, even before anything's been filmed. This is only really possible if there's a direct-to-series order. Also, sometimes, pilots that didn't get picked up will be shown in weird timeslots as TV movies, probably to satisfy a contract clause.
5. In late January, a creator may receive an order to start filming a pilot. (Note: Pre-production may involve casting actors, scouting locations, building sets, selecting wardrobes, and having actors read the scripts. http://lisacullen.com/2013/03/17/weve-prepped-weve-cast-now-we-shoot-the-pilot/ )
6. Creating the pilot involves production such as filming, and post-production (editing), and mostly happens in March and April.
7. In the second or third week in May, at the networks’ upfronts, there is an announcement to advertisers of the networks’ new shows. The creators of the series may be notified one or 2 weeks before the upfronts that one’s show has been picked up. But the networks also may wait until the last minute. If the show is picked up, the creators may be sitting on a panel discussion with the actors, in front of advertisers and journalists.
8. Writing staffs may start the first week of June. Sometimes writers are chosen even before a show gets official word that the show is picked up.
9. At Comic-Con in July, new TV shows present their pilots, and the creators and actors answer questions from the audience and journalists. Often at this time, the show is just about to start filming its second episode.
If this time line is correct, then hopefully late next month (late January), Darren will receive news that FOX has ordered his pilot for Royalties, and the pilot will be filmed! Cross our fingers!
Last edited by Poppy on Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:27 am; edited 1 time in total