It’s a problem every TV writer faces: which frickin’ TV show should you spec?

And though I’m not hugely connected to the TV world, I do have a couple of buddies of mine who work on staff on some shows. (One of them in the UK.)

In case you’re not familar with how the TV writing biz works, basically, you write a spec for an existing show so you can either get added to a show’s staff or write something on assignment.

And the tricky part is writing for a show that’s hip, but not too hip. Popular, but not too popular. Edgy, but not so edgy that it’ll be cancelled by mid-season.

And choosing the right show is important.

I know, because one thing showrunners love to complain about more than anything else is the shows people spec for.

Shows that are boring. Shows that are impossible to spec for.

Shows that have been off the air for years. (No joke.)

Things I’ve heard recently:

“If I see one more goddamn “Mad Men” spec I’m gonna kill someone.”
“Oh look. An  Office” spec. How original?”
“Battlestar Galactica? Are you shitting me?”

So…to help my fellow scriptbullies out there in their quest to get noticed with a TV spec I wanted to pass along this uber-helpful blog post from TV Calling.

In it he breaks it out by comedy and drama, and has nice little tidbits on which shows have been over-specced (Sorry, “Dexter”!) and which shows are white-hot. (“Justified”..yeah!)

If you’re a TV hack, which show will you be speccing?

My personal tip would be go with “Justified” for drama and “Community” for comedy. (But then that’s because I can’t stand CBS single-camera shows.)



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About The Author

Michael Rogan
Editor, ScriptBully Magazine

Michael Rogan is a former screenplay reader and optioned screenwriter. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of ScriptBully magazine, and has written a few non-sucky books including "How to Write a Book That Doesn't Suck (and Will Actually Sell)". He has made it his mission to help screenwriters kick ass - and rid the world of films based on action-figure lines.

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