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How to Pitch a Reality Show Idea

Our Background

I started this website as a hobby when I was in between jobs as a software engineer. I have been a fan of reality shows since MTV’s Real World, and our family gathered around the television faithfully every Thursday night to watch Survivor going back to the first season. I could never have imagined my passion for reality shows would allow us to launch this site. My proudest accomplishment around this is being in the background audience of the Survivor finale for three separate seasons.

Pitching a Show

Over the ten years that I have been writing about reality shows, we have helped thousands of people learn information about reality shows and the application process. We’ve also partnered with several casting companies to help them fill contestants on their new shows. That being said, I do not consider us qualified to give advice on getting your show on a network. This is a very complex process, and there are people who specialize in this area. Before doing a Google search, I strongly suggest doing some research before reaching out. There are a lot of unethical companies that will make big promises and want a lot of money upfront to create a promo reel or even read your pitch.

Another risk is that you can pitch your idea, but not protect your rights properly. This may allow the production company to move forward on the project without you being involved in the final version that makes the network. There are just so many different things to be pitfalls, we have specifically decided to simply provide a recommendation on where to start.

If you are serious about getting pitching a reality show, I highly recommend getting Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market by Troy DeVolld. Troy has been nominated for a daytime Emmy, and he has worked on Dancing with the Stars, Basketball Wives, The Osbournes, The Surreal Life to name a few. He is a true expert in this industry. Additionally, I believe his book is the absolute best source to learn all aspects of pitching a show.

Finally, if you get your show picked up by a network, I would be thrilled to hear from you. We can do a skype call about your journey, and we will use our platform to help you build the audience for your new show. We love supporting the readers of our site so please feel free to reach out to us with as much detail as you’d like to share.

All the best and Good Luck,


Food Network Star – Casting Guide

Food Network Star Reality Show - Logo
  • Contestants: 12 per Season
  • Top Prize: Show on Food Network
  • Selectivity: 4 Star
  • Original Release Date: June 5, 2005
  • Finale Date: —

Food Network Star – Show Overview

This is a multiple episode reality show that appears on Food Networkin which one contestant is eliminated each week. The show is judged by Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, and Giada De Laurentiis. Each week there are two culinary challenges with the first being a reward style challenge and the second being for elimination. This is not merely a cooking competition as the winner will need a strong camera presence as well. The most recent winner, “The Gourmet Cowboy” Lenny is a great example of this. It is debatable whether Lenny was the best chef of the finals, but there was no one even close to him in terms of likability. His antics struck accord with the American viewing audience, and he won the show by a landslide.

This is one of the most selective shows on the Food Network as simply appearing on the show can boost a contestant’s career. Additionally while a Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen has 4 contestants per episode, this show has a mere 14 per year. Often the competitors on Food Network Star have appeared and even won other reality shows on the the network. While there isn’t a specifically promoted prize payout, being the host of a show will immediately provide credibility and a significant career push.

Food Network Star Casting Tips

There are two methods of applying of this show for season 11. The first method is to attend on of the in person casting calls. We will have complete date, time, and locations below. The second method is to submit a 3 minute video explaining why you should appear on the show. For most people attending an in person casting call is going to be preferable. The open casting calls will often have 30 to 50 people, and you are certain to meet actual staff. If you attend one of the open calls be memorable and entertaining. You will have a chance to convey your energy, and under all circumstances be on all the time. Don’t sit passively in a corner waiting to speak to the staffing team, engage the other applicants. Remember they are not simply looking for the best chef in the room, but rather someone that a subsection of the viewing audience can relate.

If you don’t have the presence to command a room, then you may prefer the online video submission. The beauty of this is that through editing and post production, you can really enhance how you sell yourself and idea for the show. This method can be especially effective if you have a very active online presence with Youtube or other videos. This will provide the casting department a chance to see how you perform under the cameras. We recommend shooting 30 minutes for each minute of video with multiple takes of each piece and then editing it down. One of the best ways to get a feel of what you need in your video is to look at someone who was cast on the show, and we found a stellar example. Below is Nicole Gafney who was a finalist in FNS Season 10. She demonstrates her ability to both cook, connect with the camera, and interesting describe the steps she is taking.

Regardless of how you apply, it is imperative that you have a solid “Point of View” or “POV” as they refer to it on the show. The worst POVs are the ones in which contestants merely try to use their home region. Sarah is a great example of this from Season 10. Her “Point of View” was Texas, and that simply didn’t resonate with the execs. She would have been far better using the “Cooking for Kids” or “Busy Mom Meals” that focused on her ability to create healthy meals that would be enjoyed by people of any age. Remember, you need to be a “expert” in the field so you may want to guest publish on some blogs or create videos on the topic. Even creating a few references online before being cast is going to help with your credibility. One of the most unique concept that I have seen is “The Sandwich King”. His entire culinary goal and show was explained in that simple phrase, and he went on to both win a season and appear on many other shows.

Applicant Restrictions:

There are few restrictions regarding applying for the show; however, the production team is looking for people who have experience and talent building furniture. This is not a competition that will provide any level of training so everyone needs to be a master in woodwork and metal craft before applying. While there are many benefits to appearing on the show, it may be best to hone your skills and be proficient at every aspect of furniture construction.
  • Must be 18+ Years Old
  • Must be able to be in United States.
  • Must not have been on another nationwide cooking show in the past three years.
  • Must be available 6-8 weeks in January 2015 to April 2015 for Filming
  • Applications Must be Submitted before December 8, 2014/li>

Food Network Star Auditions Casting Calls

There are eight casting calls for season 11. Please remember prior to appearing in one of the casting calls to complete the online application so they are prepared to speak to you. As part of completing the form, you will be asked which city you plan to try out.
DateCityAudition VenueCasting Call Times
October 24, 2014Los Angeles, CAMarriott, Burbank Airport 2500 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 9150510am to 1pm
November 1, 2014Denver, COMagnolia Hotel 818 17th St, Denver, CO 8020210am to 1pm
November 1, 2014Philadelphia, PADoubleTree Hotel Philadelphia 237 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107Noon to 3pm
November 8, 2014Austin, TXHilton Garden Inn Downtown 500 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 7870110am to 1pm
November 9, 2014Atlanta, GAW Atlanta Downtown 45 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 3030810am to 1pm
November 15, 2014Miama, FLEpic Hotel 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami, FL 3313110am to 1pm
November 22, 2014New York, NY Galway Pub 7 E 36th St, New York, NY 1001610am to 1pm

Food Network Star Online Application Process

The first step in applying for the show is to complete the form which will ask for the following information. You will need to complete this regardless of whether you plan to submit a video or attend a casting call.
  • Your Contact Information (Full Name and Phone Number)
  • Brief Description of your Experience/Background
  • Examples of your culinary experience/awards

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.

Chopped – Casting Guide

Chopped Logo Contestants: Four per Episode
Top Prize:$10,000
Selectivity: 3 Star

Chopped Show Overview

This is a single episode reality show appearing on the Food Network which begins with four contestants who prepare a meal using some surprise random ingredients. After each of the three rounds, the contestant with the worst dish is eliminated from the show. The show is hosted by Ted Allen and has a rotating cast of judges. Because the judges are known before the competition begins, it is a good idea to watch some past episodes to understand what each of the judges is especially critical about. The winner is the person who composes the best entire meal meaning that all three dishes are considered when paying out the money. This is different from other shows like Guy’s Grocery Game or Cutthroat Kitchen which only consider the items made in the final meal.

Show Casting Tips

Chopped is a show that airs year round mean there are around 50 new episodes each year, and each episode has four chefs meaning that 200 contestants appear on the show each year. For a professional chef, this is one of the easier Food Network shows to be cast. The downside to that is that it is one of the most skill intensive as there are no sabotages or obstacles, the competition really boils down to whomever can make the best dish. It’s best to come in with a wide assortment of techniques and an open mind for each basket. People who come in set on a dish can often find themselves painted into a corner. The one exception is the final round in which contestants should try to make an ice cream as part of the dish if at all possible. A dish with ice cream done successfully wins more than 70% of the time when the other person doesn’t use the ice cream maker.

For amateur cooks, it’s considerably more complicated to appear on chopped. There are several special shows per year including family shows, civil servant shows, and teen/kid shows. Each of these shows receives many more applications that there are spots, but there are no harm in trying for the show. The goal is to be interesting to the casting team when submitting your application as it’s assumed that everyone applying is at least a reasonably competent chef.

Applicant Restrictions:

Each episode has a unique set of restrictions. There are no set guidelines as any age or profession restrictions are lifted for the “Special Shows” some of which we have listed below. If you want to apply on chopped and can legally be in the United States for filming, it’s worth submitting your online application.
  • Teens
  • Educators
  • Clergy/Religious Leaders
  • Military
  • First Responders
  • Moms, Dads, Grandparents

Chopped and Online Application

If you are interested in appearing on the show, you can complete the chopped form here. with the following information.
  • Your Contact Information (Full Name and Phone Number)
  • Brief Description of your Relationship
  • A Recent Photo

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.


Curvy Brides – Casting Guide

Curvy Brides Logo
CurvyBrides Logo Contestants: Two per episode
Top Prize: No Monetary Prize – Bride Does Appear on Television
Selectivity: 2 Star

Curvy Brides Overview

This is a single episode docudrama that is similar to “Say Yes to The Dress” also appears on TLC. The primary unique element to the show is that it features brides who are between the sizes 8 and 30. The show stars Yukia Walker-Harris and Yuneisia who work together to help brides find the perfect gown for them. This is a great show that helps people feel beautiful on their wedding day.

Curvy Brides Casting Tips

The show is set in the Washington DC area so it helps to either be in that area or have the ability to visit the shop multiple times. Additionally, most of the gowns cost multiple thousands of dollars so it’s important to come in with an appropriate budget. The show has fairly open casting which requires sending an email to the show’s contact which we’ll include below. Additionally, any person appearing on the show will need to sign a waiver.

Applicant Restrictions:

Because there is no prize money paid out to the contestants, there are less rules and regulations than other shows. The standard TLC guidelines apply of being a US resident and not being a minor. Otherwise, the casting is fairly open to anyone who is interested in sharing their wedding gown experience with the world.
  • Must be 18+ Years Old
  • Must be willing to shop at Curvaceous Couture on camera
  • Must be a US Resident

Curvy Brides Auditions and Online Application

This show has recently opened it’s casting for the 2015 season. The show is actively searching for people to appear on the show. If you are interested in applying you will need to email:
  • Your Contact Information (Full Name and Phone Number)
  • The Expected Wedding Date
  • Dress Size
  • 3-4 Photos of the Bride/li>

    Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.

  • Broken Skull Challenge- Complete Casting Guide

    Contestants: 8 per episode
    Top Prize: $10,000
    Selectivity: 1 Star

    Broken Skull Range – Show Overview

    Steve Austin is the host of an extreme mud run type competition. Each episode features eight athletes who go into 1:1 competitions. The first round is usually a tug of war type activity which eliminates four of the competition. The next round is more of a strength challenge, with the final round being the pit.

    Once the episode winner has been crowned, he (or she) will the opportunity to do the skullbuster obstacle course. If they are quicker than the previously set record score, they win $10,00 and become the reigning champ of the ranch. If episode’s winner, fails to beat the record time, they win nothing and the $10,000 goes to the person who set the record time. Country Music Television is creating a reality show in Louisiana. This will either be a 30 minute or 60 minute unscripted show tracking the lives of the the people on the sho.

    Applicant Restrictions:

    • Must Over 18 Years Old
    • MustBe Able To Complete a Physical Obstacle Course/li>

    Broken Skull Challenge – Casting Calls – Date & Location

    This show currently had open casting. The process can be started with by completing a single short form here, and including a photo of yourself along with a brief description of your antidote.

    Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.