Ever wanted to pitch an idea to one of the PBS strands but didn’t know how? Well The Independent has put together this rundown of the programs that keep their doors open for ideas from indie producers.
American Experience—accepts pitches
Watched in nearly eight million homes each week, American Experience has told stories of the people and events that shaped this country since its first airing in 1988. Though they do look at proposals annually, a word of note before gathering steam: "first-time producers and producers who have not successfully made several hours of nonfiction programming for the national schedule will not be competitive." To learn more about how to pitch to American Experience, visit www.pbs.org/amex.
American Masters—accepts pitches
A pioneer of the biography genre, American Masters offers insightful profiles of important figures in America’s artistic and cultural history. Masters does collaborate with indie producers but "ones that are very experienced," though they do admit to have worked "on occasion with up-and-coming filmmakers." To learn more on how to pitch to American Masters, visit www.pbs.org/americanmasters.
EGG: The Arts Show—assigns pieces; accepts pitches
A series about people making art across the world, for the past three years, EGG has dedicated themselves to help nurture independent filmmakers. They are always open to new ideas; their only suggestion when pitching is to "keep it simple." To learn more on how to pitch to EGG, visit www.pbs.org/egg.
For the past twenty seasons, Frontline has been the leader in fair and balanced broadcast documentaries. Though they only use a handful of independent producers, the new Frontline/World is looking for up-and-coming producers who have a story to tell. To learn more on how to pitch to Frontline/World, visit www.pbs.org/frontlineworld.
Great Performances—accepts pitches
Television’s longest-running performing arts anthology, Great Performances is always looking for new ideas. To learn more on how to pitch to Great Performances, visit
Televisions longest-running weekly natural history series, Nature uses both US and European-based producers, and welcomes both established independent producers and newcomers to pitch ideas to them. In fact, Under Antarctic Ice, the first doc shot on HDTV for Nature, was done by first-time director Norbert Wu. Nature also provided Wu with the Hi-Def equipment. To learn more on how to pitch to Nature, visit www.pbs.org/nature.
NOVA—assigns pieces, accepts pitches
Seen in more than one hundred countries, NOVA is the most watched science television series in the world, and the most watched documentary series on PBS. They’ve made this possible through the assistance of indie producers, who they "welcome and need." To learn more on how to pitch to NOVA, visit www.pbs.org/nova.
Wide Angle—assigns pieces, accepts pitches
A weekly series of one-hour international documentaries focusing on political, economic, and social forces shaping the world. The series is always looking to commission films from independent producers across the globe. To learn more on how to pitch Wide Angle, visit www.pbs.org/wideangle.
Independent Lens/P.O.V.—accepts completed films
Both Independent Lens and P.O.V. are series that highlight the best work by independent filmmakers. Everything shown is one hundred percent indie produced. To learn more about how to pitch to Independent Lens or P.O.V., visit www.pbs.org/independentlens or www.pov.org