CBC Docs: Limited Documentary Series

We are commissioning premium documentary series that are highly announceable, high-impact, deep-access and narratively ambitious. These are limited documentary series: ideally 3 to 6 hourlong episodes, and not meant to be a returning or long-running series.

These limited series hinge on a highly compelling story, with twists and turns that drive the audience from one episode to the next with a sense of deep curiosity and engagement. We are programming our limited series as tentpole events on the prime time schedule, and as feature offerings on CBC Gem.

In terms of subject matter, we’re open to a wide range of stories and tone and are seeking projects that land in the midst of a specific cultural conversation. In other words, why now?

We’re looking for documentary series that feature exclusive access to a story, character, community or inner world that will reveal itself through the course of the episodes. It could leverage an existing brand (book, podcast, talent) or shed new light on an event that Canadians are infinitely curious about. In all cases, we’re seeking a story - not a broad survey of a subject, or a series of profiles. Further, you want to ensure that you’re bringing a unique entry point or focus to the storytelling.

In this space, we’re open to international co-productions when there is a natural Canadian angle embedded in the storyline, or when the story has relevance for a Canadian audience.

Examples from last season:

  • Enslaved: Samuel L. Jackson, along with a team of investigative journalists and divers, uncovers the hidden history of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • The Oland Murder: A deep access series that follows Dennis Oland and his legal team as he prepares to be re-trialled for the murder of his father, Richard Oland.

How to Pitch Us

Your proposal should briefly (1 to 2 pages) and clearly outline the story focus, themes and characters. Additional information on the creative team, financing and the production company should be included if possible.

Proposals can be submitted to the contacts listed below. All proposals are reviewed by the commissioning team on a regular basis.  If there is interest in a project, you will be contacted for further discussion. (General response time 4-8 weeks).  If the Network is interested in the concept, we embark on a phase of development, the deliverables of which are agreed upon by the producer and the CBC. Development funding is determined by the deliverables.

CBC Submission Release Form

Materials will not be reviewed unless accompanied by a signed CBC Submission Release Form, downloadable here: Submission Release Form (PDF)

Please be advised that we cannot return materials submitted.

Contact Information

Limited documentary series submissions for development or production should be emailed to: docpitch@cbc.ca
All finished documentary series for acquisition should be emailed to: pitch.acquisitions@cbc.ca

Christian Hamilton
Development Manager, Unscripted Content, CBC & documentary Channel

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