How to Pitch a Drama

Highlighted shows have been greenlit for pilots.


Occult: FBI agent gets partner who specializes in the occult.
Those Who Kill: Detective–forensic psychiatrist duo hunt serial killers.


Betrayal: Woman’s paramour defends the man her husband’s prosecuting.
Big Thunder: Based on the Disneyland roller coaster of same name.
Doubt: Cop turned low-rent lawyer works the system.
Forever: Loved ones resurrect exactly as they last were in life.
Gothica: Woman on a quest delves into San Francisco’s supernatural.
Influence: Bipolar genius and ex-con brother motivate and manipulate.
Killer Women: Spin on the Argentine series about a female Texas Ranger.
Lucky 7: Queens service-station employees win the lottery.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Avengers-themed series.
Reckless: Man enlists mercenary to rescue his hostage wife.
Westside: Romeo and Juliet in Venice, California.

ABC Family

Chasing Life (a.k.a. Terminales): Young woman is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The Falls: Modern reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.
The Fosters: A wayward teenager moves in with a lesbian couple.
I Hunt Killers: Serial killer’s son becomes suspect in copycat murders.
Juliet Immortal: Romeo sacrifices Juliet in Shakespearean mash-up.
The Keys: Woman unravels secrets at exclusive Florida resort.
Now and Then: Four teenage girls spend a 1970s summer together.
Recovery Road: Girl finds love in rehab.
Twisted: Alleged sociopath is suspected when fellow student is murdered.


Area 51: Two men discover secrets the government will protect at any cost.
Halt & Catch Fire: A trio confront the corporate behemoths of their time.
Line of Sight: An odyssey of self-discovery follows a man’s plane crash.
Low Winter Sun: Detroit detective murders fellow cop.
Rights of Bill: Sheriff forms his own Wisconsin militia.
The Terror: A Northwest Passage expedition encounters a monstrous predator.
Turn: A group of American spies turns the tide against Britain in 1778.
Untitled LaGravenese-Goldwyn project: New evidence prompts reinvestigation of sensational murder.


The Advocates: Female lawyer and male ex-con team up as victim advocates.
The Anatomy of Violence: FBI agent works with mysterious psychiatrist from her past.
Backstrom: A detective version of Dr. House.
Beverly Hills Cop: Son of Eddie Murphy’s character follows in Dad’s footsteps.
Hostages: A family caught up in a political conspiracy.
Intelligence: Man has a top-secret microchip implanted in his brain.
The Ordained: Kennedy-esque family’s priest son becomes a lawyer to prevent sister’s assassination.
Reckless: Two attorneys clash over sex scandal in Charleston.
Second Sight: Purblind detective uses heightened other senses to solve crimes.
The Surgeon General: Nation’s chief doc battles forces of politics and business.
Under the Dome: A Stephen King adaptation: A transparent dome inexplicably seals off a small town.
Untitled NCIS: Los Angeles spinoff: Mobile team of agents crisscross country solving crimes.


Kingpin: Drug trafficker who wants out gets blackmailed back in.
Quarry: Marine sniper returns home from Vietnam in 1973 and is shunned and demonized.
Sandbox: Veterans clean up Coachella Valley using combat skills.
Sixth Family: Changing face of organized crime post-9/11.


Blink: Dark story of girl’s father in a coma.
Company Town: Aftermath of a scandal atNorfolk Naval Station.
The 100: Juvenile delinquents recolonize Earth.
The Originals: Vampire Diaries spinoff; Klaus returns to New Orleans.
Oxygen: Attempt to integrate humanoid aliens into high school.
Reign: Secret history of survival at the French royal court.
The Selection: Centuries hence, a working-class woman competes for the prince’s hand.
The Tomorrow People: Story of people representing the next stage of human evolution.


Almost Human: Big-city cops get android partners; J. J. Abrams executive-produces.
Boomerang: A family serves as government assassins.
Delirium:A world in which teenage love is cured to keep society safe.
Gang Related: Gang member rises through LAPD ranks.
The List: U.S. marshal hunts person who stole identities when protected witnesses start dying.
Rake: A defense lawyer (Greg Kinnear) takes on desperate cases.
Sleepy Hollow: Modern-day tales of Ichabod Crane.
The Wild Blue: Upstairs, Downstairs–style soap set on aircraft carrier.


The Bridge: U.S. and Mexican detectives hunt serial killer along border.
Crash & Burn: A stuntman trying to survive post-Vietnam, pre-CGI California.
Downtown Dragons: Gangsters in Chinatown fight using traditional techniques.
Fargo: TV adaptation of Coen brothers’ film.
The Strain: Vampire virus infects New York; Guillermo del Toro directs.
Tyrant: An unassuming U.S. family gets drawn into the turbulent Middle East.
Untitled bank-robbery drama: Addiction and bank robbery meet a volatile family dynamic; stars Tim Roth.
Untitled Jonathan Shapiro drama: Ex–police detective works as a fixer.
Untitled music-industry crime drama: L.A. through the lenses of the music business and crime.
Untitled Stephen Belber drama: New York thriller chronicling murder and cover-up.


Badlands: Family toils in blue-collar Wyoming mining town.
Criminal Justice: Adaptation of a U.K. series following a person through the justice system.
The Leftovers: Post-Rapture story of those who didn’t make the cut.
Maison Close: Three women in 1871 Paris conspire to leave a brothel.
The Missionary: Sixties missionary in East Berlin aids the CIA.
The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death: Fifties housewife obsesses over solving brutal crimes.
Open: Ryan Murphy–produced relationship drama.
Our Father: Powerful pastor fights to rediscover faith in face of enemies.
Paper: Ex-gangster trying to reform himself as debt collector.
The Return of Daniel Shepherd: The disarray after a missing boy returns and his captors are murdered.
Stick Fly: A black family’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard reveals prejudice, adultery. Based on the play.
True Detective: Two detectives’ lives entwine during seventeen-year serial-killer hunt.
Untitled Jeff Nathanson drama: Behind-the-scenes look at an NBA team and owner.
Untitled Thomas Bradshaw–Oprah Winfrey drama: Prestigious college’s first black president and his family enter the limelight.


Darcy’s Town: Pride and Prejudice retold in a small Virginia town.
Deliverance Creek: Explores how far one woman will go to protect her family after the Civil War.
Devious Maids: Five ambitious maids work for Beverly Hills rich and famous.
Finding Love: Jennifer Love Hewitt offers honest romance tips and comical personal experiences.
Flesh & Blood: Girl from wrong side of tracks infiltrates powerful New York family.
HR: Uptight HR director sustains head injury, altering workplace outlook.
Mrs. G’s Bigger Love: Success of fictional polygamist blog forces housewife to pretend.
Paranormal Housewives: Inspired by real-life SoCal group of pro investigators.
Prisoners’ Wives: Four women cope with the men in their lives serving time.


Blackwood: Teen girl investigates sudden disappearance of 114 people.
Scream: Based on Scream film franchise.
Unraveling: Girl hit by car is convinced mysterious crush resuscitated her.


Believe: Girl possessing powers and a man sprung from prison to protect her.
The Blacklist: Keyser Söze–like criminal (James Spader) surrenders to help hunt the guys he protected.
Bloodlines: Woman abandoned by mercenaries must defeat mother in combat.
Camp: Parents decompress with gin while teens make mischief.
Dracula: Dracula poses as American entrepreneur in Victorian London.
Hatfields & McCoys: Startling death reignites legendary feud.
I Am Victor: John Stamos stars as a Dr. House–like divorce attorney.
Ironside: Paralyzed San Francisco detective finds new ways to fight crime.
The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives: Three close families in the aftermath of a murder.
The Sixth Gun: Mythical gun falls into girl’s hands in the Old West.
Untitled Sachs-Judah drama: Army doctors return and work the night shift together at a San Antonio hospital.
Untitled Secret Service–agent drama: Agent’s first day throws him into the center of an international crisis.
Wonderland: Clara ventures into Wonderland, whose Queen is now Alice.


Narcos: Life and death of drug lord Pablo Escobar.


The Affair: The ways an affair disrupts two marriages.
Angie’s Body: Shrewd, sexy, lethal woman runs family crime syndicate. Jodie Foster produces.
The Angry Buddhist: A murder threatens to derail a congressman’s life and his two brothers’.
Conquest: Story of Hernán Cortés’s clash with Moctezuma II.
The 4th Reich: Ex-neo-Nazi turns FBI informant and discovers his son leads the Brotherhood; Robert De Niro executive-produces.
The Good Shepherd: Follows family of a CIA operative.
Kings of Midnight: Dark story of pro criminal ring with woman at the head.
Masters of Sex: Research pioneers who set off the sexual revolution.
Ray Donovan: Dark drama about broke fixer for L.A.’s rich and famous.
Sleep No More: A town where the dead keep returning to life.
The Vatican: Mysteries and miracles behind one of world’s most opaque institutions.


Black Sails: Adventures of buccaneer Captain Flint twenty years before Treasure Island.
Fortitude: Arctic town has first violent crime.
Human Error: Conspiracy engulfs two detectives, one human, one artificial.
Incursion: Squad fights hostile alien race.
Marco Polo: Martial-arts epic of adventurer’s years in court of Kublai Khan.
Off Season: NFL’s youngest coach handles harsh competition.
Outlander: World War II combat nurse transported to 1743 must marry Scottish warrior.
Power: New York nightclub owner toes the line of criminality.
Spartacus spinoff: Young Caesar about to begin Roman ascent.
Turf: Charts hip-hop’s birth in seventies Bronx.
Vlad Dracula: Prince of Wallachia evolves from revered ruler to feared vampire.
The White Queen: Story of the women at center of battle for the English throne.


The Almighty Johnsons: Guy learns he and his family are reincarnated Norse gods.
Blake’s 7: Renegades escape prison planet, battle aliens, and become heroes.
Clandestine: Swashbucklers masquerade as part of intergalactic fleet.
Eye of the Dragon: Prince battles evil wizard and rival for throne.
Helix: Team of scientists investigating disease outbreak in Antarctica.
High Moon: Emerging life form causes chaos among moon’s colonizers.
Proof: Son of deceased billionaire parents will reward discovery of life after death.


A Bend in the Road adaptation: Sheriff deals with summer tourists flocking to coastal Georgia town.
Cold Feet: Runaway bride learns how her absence would affect people she loves.
Emperor: Story of a modern mob boss.
Frankenstein: Victor and his monster reunite 200 years later in New Orleans.
HIT: High-school football teammates join Miami PD’s High Impact Team.
The Last Ship: Crew confronts reality that a pandemic has decimated Earth’s population.
Legends: Deep-cover operative who can transform himself for each job.
Lew Archer: Follows sleuth many consider a proto-P.I.
Lost Angeles (a.k.a. L.A. Noir): Crime drama set in the L.A. of the forties and fifties.
Murder in the First: Intimately dissects single murder case, from crime through trial.
Tom Clancy’s Homeland Security: Intel operatives pitted against enemies within and without.
Untitled bounty-hunter drama: Eccentric bounty hunter uses her unusual tactics to get ahead.
Untitled Tim Rackley adaptation: Centers on U.S. marshal driven by thirst for justice.
The Vine: Blogger mobilizes her vast readership to solve crimes.


Boom: Story of a North Dakota energy boom.
Bounty Boys: Two friends take odd bounty-hunting jobs.
Brainstorm: Brilliant neurologist whose wit rubs patients the wrong way.
Counsel: FBI recruits ex–Army lawyer as “shadow counsel” to crack case.
Darknet: Cybercrime investigators stumble across plot to alter human evolution.
The Edge: Harvard grad uncovers his finance firm’s secrets while embroiled in FBI investigation.
Graceland: Undercover SoCal house full of DEA, FBI, LAPD agents.
Horizon: Woman in WWII period drama believes aliens killed husband in South Pacific.
Jane Wayne: Criminal-conspiracy scandal ensnares cop and patrol-sergeant husband.
Paging Dr. Freed: Brothers assume medical practice after father’s untimely death.
Untitled Steve Franks drama: Brother and sis take over family’s investment firm.
When the Women Come Out to Dance: Marriage of convenience to Colombian works out well for Miamian seeking office.
Z: Rise of orphaned teen who saves city.

Some Trends:

Supernatural Always Sells
Occult (A&E)
Gothica (ABC)
Paranormal Housewives (Lifetime)

If You Liked the Movie …
The Good Shepherd (Showtime)
Scream (MTV)
Beverly Hills Cop (CBS)
Fargo (FX)
Spartacus spinoff (Starz)

Romeo And Juliet Updates: Hey, It Worked for Baz
Juliet Immortal (ABC Family)
The Falls (ABC Family)
Westside (ABC)

When in Doubt, Try a Serial Killer
Those Who Kill (A&E)
I Hunt Killers (ABC Family)
The Bridge (FX)
True Detective (HBO)
The List (Fox)

More About the Mob
Sixth Family (Cinemax)
Angie’s Body (Showtime)
L.A. Noir (TNT)
Kings of Midnight (Showtime)
Emperor (TNT)

Everyone Likes San Francisco, Right?
Gothica (ABC)
Ironside (NBC)

House Was a Hit; Let’s Try a Ripoff
I Am Victor (NBC)
Backstrom (CBS)
Brainstorm (USA)

Vampires! Vampires! Vampires!
Dracula (NBC)
Vlad Dracula (Starz)
The Strain (FX)

Nineteenth-Century Lit: No Royalties!
Frankenstein (TNT)
Darcy’s Town adapted from Pride & Prejudice (Lifetime)
Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
Wonderland (NBC)
Black Sails adapted from Treasure Island (Starz)

The Book Sold Great
Under the Dome
Stephen King

The Originals
based on The Vampire Diaries

A Bend in the Road
Nicholas Sparks

Tom Clancy’s
Homeland Security


Built-in Name Recognition: Real People and Places in History
Marco Polo
Thirteenth-century China

The White Queen
English royal court

Revolutionary War

Deliverance Creek
Civil War

French royal court

Maison Close
Nineteenth-century France

World War II

L.A. Noir
Mid-century Los Angeles

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Fifties America

Vlad Dracula
Fifteenth-century Romania

Hatfields & McCoys

The New World exploration era

World War II and, somehow, 1743

We’re Doomed: Apocalypse Shows
The Leftovers (HBO)
The Last Ship (TNT)
The 100 (CW)

How to Pitch a Drama