What is a Show Proposal?

A show proposal  is a clear and short written document that demonstrates the show goals, objectives, show requirements, systematic plan of show production, and the concept or main theme of the show. This is a fundamental tool to describe the overall key components of the show such as the name of the program, estimated budget, synopsis, target audience segmentation, execution procedure, uniqueness, and justification of the show. It outlines the content and purpose of the show thoroughly to guide the management in understanding the output and future of the show.

Based on the report, streaming video including SVOD and AVOD accounted for 26% of all viewing, slightly greater than broadcast TV shows which had an audience share of 25%. Cable TV shows had the highest audience share at 39% while the remaining 9% was categorized as other which includes video gaming console usage.  Whether you want your proposed show to be streamed in online VOD streaming services or to be broadcasted in cable TV networks or broadcasting stations, you need to be skilled in writing a show proposal. Thus, all types of TV show directors, show producers, show managers, project leaders, and other key professionals in the show production fields and industries should create a show proposal effectively. 

Different Types of Show Proposals

Ian Somerhalder said: “I mean, there is some amazing storytelling being done on the small screen right now. That’s what is so cool about being on television right now. Studios, networks are starting to throw more resources, better writers, more production values…and to be part of that is awesome.” There are different types of shows available out there such as TV drama shows, comedy shows, musical shows, entertainment shows, sports shows, news shows, music TV shows, art shows, theatre shows and many others. In this section, you will learn and understand about the different types of show proposals. To guide you in this matter, read the following details:

1. Art Show Proposal

Are you an art director, a landscape architect, a video editor, a graphic designer, an illustrator, an art curator, a fashion designer or an interior designer? Arts shows or art exhibitions are spaces where art objects which include paintings, sculptures, jeweleries, interior decorative pieces, non-ephemeral photos or thematic films, interactive installations, immersive virtual reality installations, and many others meet an audience. Individual artists and designers and groups of artists showcase their creative pictures, drawings, video, sound, installation, interactive art, new media art or sculptures in museums, art halls, private art galleries, coffeehouses, and other art gallery spaces. If you want to propose an art show with your fellow artists and designers in your local area, it is important to write a compelling art show proposal by writing your personal details, your vision for the art show, the background of the artists/designers and their respective works. 

2. Entertainment Show Proposal  

There are different kinds of entertainment shows such as variety shows, star documentary shows, travel documentary shows, musical shows, and many others. One example of an entertainment show is WayVision, a two season variety show in South Korea starring WayV (the Chinese sub-unit of NCT, a K-pop boy band under SM Entertainment). It contains 12 episodes each and was aired on the Seezn app. It features the adventures of the members of WayV (Kun, Ten, Winwin, Lucas, Xiaojun, Hendery, and Yangyang) as they had a 3-day trip to Gangwon province. The first season showed their adventure during summer while the second season showed their fun time during winter. The series features a total of 6 different channels, each with different content. When writing a proposal for your entertainment show, define the proposed name of the show and include the information of the director and major details of the proposed entertainment show.

3. Radio Show Proposal 

Desert Island Discs, The Archers, Round the Horne, Hancock’s Half Hour, and In the Psychiatrist’s Chair are the top five most popular radio shows of all time. The most incredible radio show of all time is Desert Island Discs which aired on BBC Radio 4 every week from 1942 to the present as it features different famous celebrities and personalities who usually reveal eight records, books, and luxury items they would take if they were to go to a deserted island. What is the title of your radio program? What is the show about? How long will your show be? What kind of music might you play? Will there be any interviews? What is the topic that you are interviewing on? Who is responsible for scheduling interviews? Will there any be guest speakers coming in to speak on the air? How will your show be organized? Consider these questions when you create your proposal for your radio show.

4. TV Show Proposal

The current top TV shows in various TV networks and online video streaming services are All of Us are Dead, Love You as the World Ends, Sweet Home, Hellbound, Our Beloved Summer, Alice in Borderland, 18 Again, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and many others. Do you want your TV show to be streamed on Netflix, Viu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and/or iQIYI? Prepare your TV show proposal by indicating these primary information: date of submission, name of producer, show title, type of show, show frequency (monthly, quarterly, annual or single broadcast), and description of the show, as well as other information like the technical staff details such as the name of the producer, camera operators, sound producers, scriptwriters, and other production assistants. 

Basic Elements of a Show Proposal

In this section, you will learn how to construct a remarkably written and well-designed show proposal. However, a show proposal has different parts. Include the following elements for you to create an excellent document:

Cover Letter: One of the major components of a show proposal is the cover letter. It is composed of fundamental details about your profession and experience in producing showa, as well as the main idea, purpose, and primary objectives of the show project. Show Description/ Synopsis: Write the description or synopsis of your show project. It is the most crucial component of your proposal. It provides the reader an impression on how enticing the show is and demonstrates the determination of the show producer. Strategically place the captivating elements of your show in this proposal so that the readers will be able to remember the essence of your creative work. Marketing Plan of the Show: Specify your target audience and why they will be pleased with the show. Include some details on how the show will be advertised, promoted and distributed to obtain more viewers. Give some real-time statistics to support your idea. Background Details of the Show Production Staff Members: List down your experience, educational background, and awards you have received in your TV show production work. Also, add the resumes of the staff members of the show production team such as the director, casting director, production designer, location manager, set designer, researcher, screenwriter, story editor, audio director, cinematographer, stage manager, gaffer, audio engineer, technical director, composer, sound editor, and many others on your your document. Financial Budget: Set the estimated budget for the overall production of the proposed show. List down the expenses of the creative and technological elements of the show production such as drama script, cinematography, set design, props design, lighting design, costume design, professional fees of the staff members, actor salaries and many others. Visual Sketches and Storyboard: Add some visual sketches or construct a mood board of the set design, costume design, and style for the proposed show. Attach some other illustrations or a comprehensive storyboard that will clearly explain the story that you want to convey and to easily plan your shot list for the show.

How to Create a Show Proposal

Robert L. Hilliard wrote in Writing for Television, Radio, and New Media: “Creativity and talent cannot be taught, but principles and techniques can. If you are willing to devote time, energy, and hard work to learning the basics of writing, you will be able to write at least an adequate script for any video, audio, TV show or internet program. If you also have writing talent and the determination to combine it with effective principles and techniques, you are on your way to making important contributions to the media industries.” Below are some easy-to-follow tips that indicate how to design and craft a professional show proposal:

Step 1: Write a Clear Overview of the Show

The first thing you need to do is write a clear and appealing overview of the show. Think of an attractive and catchy name of the show so that it can get good ratings. Include a concise description and theme of your show as you tell the management about the purpose and focus of the show. Know the target audience of your show and explain why you are targeting the audience. Provide some statistical information to support your idea.

Step 2: State the Justification and Execution of the Show

Why should a certain broadcasting station, cable TV network, or an online video streaming platform produce the show that you want to execute? What is the unique factor that your show has? What are the advantages of the show? How will the audience benefit from watching your show? Justify your show and clearly explain your side, especially highlight the advantages or benefits that your show will provide to its target audience. Then, suggest some methods on how your show should be produced. Contemplate and indicate a running order for the show.

Step 3: Introduce the Staff of the Program

Tell the names and designated roles of the show program staff members such as the casting director, television director, associate director, technical director, production designer, researcher, location manager, cinematographer, set designer, TV producer, executive producer, line producer, segment producer, head writer, screenwriters, story editor, audio engineer, floor manager, graphics coordinator, stage manager, costume designer/stylist, video control operator, colorist, composer, editor, foley artist, sound editor, title sequence designer, ADR editor, visual effects artist, and many others. 

Step 4:  Proofread and Revise the Overall Proposal

Check your show proposal carefully. Write all the important elements in your show proposal. If you notice that you overlook some sections that require additional points, we recommend that you proofread and revise the overall document.

Step 5: Prepare the Final Show Proposal

After proofreading and revising, you can now prepare the final show proposal. Add some notes and other sufficient messages you want to inform the management or key executives of the broadcasting station, cable TV network and/or the online video streaming company on the last part of your show proposal. Skim your show proposal for final analysis and quality check. 


What are some examples of show proposals?

Some examples of show proposals are TV show proposal, private show proposal, art show proposal, radio show proposal, theatre show proposal, entertainment show and group proposal, talk show proposal, YouTube Originals show proposal, animated show proposal, reality TV show proposal, sports show proposal, music TV show proposal, and more.

How to write a short TV show brief?

When you write your pitch for a TV show, it should be no more than 12-15 minutes. Tell the executives the theme and main idea of the show, entice them into the premise and inform them why it is suitable for their network or online video streaming service. Show your appreciation and gratitude.

What are the different types of TV shows?

The different types of shows are TV drama, comedy, factual, entertainment, sports, news, music TV, online subscription streaming TV shows, sitcom, reality TV, game show, soap opera, animated series, television serials, teen drama, family drama, medical drama, legal/crime drama, historical drama, musical drama, political drama, and many others.

How to create a TV show pitch?

Describe the personal connection to the story and elaborate the way you come up with the idea. Specify the events of the pilot. Develop a summary of the first season of the TV series. Include an explanation of where the television show will go in the upcoming seasons.

Stanley Kubrick said: “A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” Producing various kinds of shows, films and videos should evoke eclectic feelings that many people can relate deeply to. Apply this principle as well when you are preparing your show proposal as you convey the key message and emotions of your show to the management. Therefore, writing a clear and effective show proposal is an important written document to fully describe the overall procedure, purpose, and advantages of the show to the management of a broadcasting station, cable TV network or online video streaming company.  So, here are some of our downloadable and printable show proposal samples available in different kinds of formats such as art show proposal templates, radio show proposal templates,  TV show proposal templates, and other show proposal templates   Simply click the show proposal templates in this article and start downloading now!