The Non-Fiction Pitch Guide: Discovery and Food Network

Thinking about pitching your factual content to Discovery Canada or Food Network Canada? Find out how they prefer to hear from you.

FOOD NETWORK CANADA
EMILY MORGAN, VP, CONTENT

WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FOR:
While the Food Network’s sked is divided between instructional daytime fare and more entertainment-driven primetime programming, Morgan says, “60 to 65% of our commissioning dollars go towards primetime.”

For both commissioned and acquired programming, strong formats, captivating competitions and great hosts make the grade. Travelogs need to be “gritty and relatable.”

In general, Morgan says that as the net’s audience gets younger year-on-year (currently, Food skews female, with a 25-54 age demo), there’s an emphasis on fun programming that can encompass the drama of an Iron Chef America or the humor of a Pitching In.

SERIES VS. ONE-OFFS:
Food works in half-hour series, but is delving into hour-longs. Pricing range per hour for commissions is
product-dependent, she says. “We have things we pay $20,000 for and we have things we pay $100,000 for.” The Canwest/Corus/Scripps J.V. works closely with Food Network and Cooking Channel in the U.S. to explore partnerships.

HOW TO PITCH:
“A log line or one-paragraph descriptor is a good place to start,” says Morgan. Tape is fine for talent-oriented pitches. The best contact is Brynn Tschirhart, Food Network Programming Dept., via btschirhart@canwest.com.


 

DISCOVERY CHANNEL CANADA
ANN HARBRON, DIRECTOR, COMMISSIONING AND PRODUCTION

HOW SHE COMMISSIONS:
Each year Ann Harbron and her team at Canada’s Discovery Channel commission approximately 150 hours of programming. Most of that consists of new and returning series; however, there is also room on the channel for documentaries (1×120 minutes) which air in Discovery’s doc slot ‘Discovery Presents.’

The channel does between 10 and 12 international coproductions for both series and specials per year. The most regular producing partners for Discovery come from the UK, France and Germany.

HOW TO PITCH:
Harbron says pitches have to have “our audiences’ needs top of mind.” That audience is mostly inquisitive males aged 25 to 54. She expects to see an organized and engaging three-to-five page document clearly defining the length, premise, context, story, settings, characters and/or hosts.

Additional pitching instructions for producers can be found on the Discovery site. Pitches can be sent to Heather Williamson, manager, program development at heather.williamson@ctv.ca or mailed to Williamson’s attention at 9 Channel Nine Court, Scarborough, Ontario, M1S 4B5, Canada.

From realscreen magazine.