Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

Ownership on TV Reality show idea

we have a reality show idea. My partner and I have a treatment and will be going into pitch this to networks and cable Exec.producers. If they love it and want to move forward, I understand their goal will be to buy the idea from me, but I have a desire to produce it... I would like to know if we can still OWN the idea or partly own the idea if a network or a major cable network want to own it too.. Is it something that happens frequently or rarely. I also understand that I have to speak with a lawyer eventually.

thank you.

Asked on 3/16/04, 2:54 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Sheldon G. Bardach Law Offices of Sheldon G. Bardach
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Re: Ownership on TV Reality show idea

The producing company gets whatever you are willing to give them. They may have plans for the project, which they haven't share with you. You must have a full discussion of what they want and give them that only. It is not appropriate for attorney responses to solicit your business.

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3/17/04, 12:18 pm
Kim Kirby Davis Dixon Kirby LLP
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Re: Ownership on TV Reality show idea

Most broadcasters (if any) will not even read your treatment unless you have an attorney (or representation). In fact, they require the request for the pitch meeting to be on firm letterhead. So, unfortunately, that's your first step. My firm provides these types of services only after having reviewed the treatment and if we believe it's viable. I would suggest trying to get an agent to read it as well. Broadcasters will accept pitches from agents. But you cannot just call up the networks and get meetings. Also, if a broadcaster is interested there are many ways to structure the deal. I would also try to pitch to production companies and see if they are interested. If so, then they will pitch the idea. And yes, eventually you will need an attoney to review the contracts, etc.

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3/16/04, 3:05 pm
George Woodworth Law Office of George Woodworth & Associates
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Re: TV Reality show idea

Hello---Thank you for your question. It is difficult, if not impossible, as a new producer to even get a meeting with the proper people on a new TV show idea. You'll probably have to have your attorney or agent bring this idea to their attention for consideration, first, before you'd even bring up the composition of the production team. As to ownership, of course, anything can be discussed in negotiation---something your attorney would probably handle for you. Email me to discuss further. Attorney George Woodworth

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3/16/04, 5:26 pm

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