(from TV Training newsletter)
The success story behind USA Network’s hit show Burn Notice should come as welcome news to novice show creators everywhere.
Matt Nix was a screenwriter stuck in development hell with none of his scripts getting made in Hollywood. Out of frustration, he tried writing a TV pilot, and his first pilot script was… Burn Notice.
“I didn’t know anything when I started,” Nix said. “I wrote a n entire pilot without any space for commercials.”
But what he did do was follow an important piece of advice: Write about something you'd watch and are passionate about, as opposed to following a trend or what someone tells you to do.
The script sold into a series and the show is now in its sixth season.
What made the difference?
Opportunities are available in cable television and niche marketing. You no longer have to paint with a broad stroke and attract huge audiences with bland content.
Cable television now resembles the magazine rack at your local Barnes and No ble: There are magazines for every specific interest under the sun (and yes, there’s probably one for tanning).
Advertisers love this development because they can specifically target a more receptive audience to their product or service.
Mad Men or Breaking Bad on AMC don’t have to get 10 million viewers like a CBS or ABC show to be successful because the 2 million viewers that they do get are the more upscale viewers that advertisers crave for their higher end products (notice all the Mercedes and Lincoln ads).
Pay attention to the advertisers on your favorite cable show to understand just how targeted these markets are, and where your prospective show fits.
Because of this development, cable now represents an insatiable market for original programming.
Do you have a show – reality or scripted – that meets the interests of a desirable niche market?