This is the question we get asked the most. On this page, we’ve tried to answer that question as fully and as clearly as possible.
At the moment, we are developing prime time series for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 seasons. We are most interested in receiving pitches in these genres:
Below you will find descriptions and examples of those genres. Please take the time to read this information and apply these filters to your creative thinking—this will give you the best shot at a successful pitch.
Does your series have the potential to be the next entertainment juggernaut and become appointment viewing for Canadian families? Is it a celebratory and fun series that helps the viewer escape the stress of the day?
For our entertainment series, we are looking for escapist content that has an element of added value for a public broadcaster (in other words, it’s relevant to modern Canadian life, is an expression of who we are & what brings us together - and it’s entertaining!). Prime time entertainment comes in many forms, so please think in ambitious terms that push the boundaries of what already exists on television. We’re looking for high production value and formats that stand out in this very crowded landscape.
Examples of current and upcoming HIGH ENTERTAINMENT FOR FAMILY on the CBC schedule
THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW: The Great British Bake Off comes to Canada! This popular series brings together 10 amateur bakers from across Canada to compete in a series of themed culinary challenges. In every episode, they'll face three nail-biting rounds: the Signature Bake, the Technical Bake and the Show Stopper. Each week, the competitor who shows the most skill, creativity and finesse will be named Star Baker, while the weakest will be sent home until only three finalists are left vying for the Great Canadian Baking Show title.
We continue to see great success with factual content that puts everyday Canadians in the spotlight and celebrates our diverse communities, big and small. In these series, the characters and grassroots stories are hyper-local but the appeal is universal. We want to be an expression of community to the country - bringing small stories to life through entertaining factual formats.
These should be escapist series with characters who are engaging, inspiring, resilient, forward-thinking and representative of modern Canadian life. Please pitch us shows that are about people, not subjects.
Be they comedic or dramatic, all our factual series have to do heavy lifting on the prime time schedule and attract a large audience.
Examples of current and upcoming HYPER-LOCAL WITH UNIVERSAL APPEAL on the CBC schedule:
STILL STANDING: An irreverent and affectionate adventure through small-town Canada and a celebration of the people who live there. It follows Jonny Harris as he visits struggling small towns, immersing himself in the lives of local residents and mining enough material to put on an original stand-up comedy routine for the locals.
THE DETECTIVES: The Detectives is a gripping true crime series that brings to life the work of real detectives by blending first person interviews with fully scripted drama. Every episode features a different detective reliving the investigation that not only challenged them like no other, but also had a residual impact on an aspect of Canadian life and law enforcement. In combining intimate, raw interviews with the real detectives and meticulously crafted drama, the series provides an eye opening look at law enforcement and violent crime in Canada.
Sparking national conversation through unscripted programming continues to be of interest to us. Whether it be challenging the stereotypes that surround disability, or
exploring the world through the eyes of Canada’s top artists, these series push boundaries, take risks and privilege innovative storytelling.
We are looking for new concepts that add to the cultural conversation, support partnerships with other like-minded organizations and potentially draws a new audience to CBC.
Examples of current and upcoming INNOVATION & CULTURAL CONTRIBUTION on the CBC schedule:
“Is there one subject you’re most interested in? Anything you’re not looking for?”
We try and stay open to as many different genres and subjects as possible, but are not looking for:
“Is there anything else I should know or think about?”
Inclusivity is a priority. CBC continues to invest in diversity, inclusion and reflecting contemporary Canada both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. We require all producers to embed diversity of view, subject and approach in your proposals and will want to know how your production moves the dial in terms of inclusion & diversity. This means introducing new perspectives, voices, and topics of conversation, and talent that’s as ethnically, culturally and geographically diverse as the audiences we serve.
It’s crowded out there. Drawing eyeballs to new content is no small feat in this crowded media landscape. Each year, we are looking to experiment and innovate with new series that have the potential to garner critical acclaim, audience buzz and push the boundaries of what already exists on television. What unique hook does your series have? We are not looking for earnest, issue-driven series. Be creatively ambitious!
We value authenticity. This means real moments experienced by real people. Authentic storytelling doesn’t feel fake or constructed, isn’t superficial, and connects with the audience on an emotional level. We want to showcase the best of Canada. Authentic doesn’t mean boring! We need drama, but we’re not about nasty, superficial conflict. Even in a competition format, like The Great Canadian Baking Show, the audience will experience and learn about Canada through food - ties to culture, community, identity and universal moments we can all relate to. It celebrates the joy of baking without any back-stabbing.
Stay in Canada. We are mostly looking for concepts that are set in Canada and that have broad appeal for all our citizens. Global travel series are not a priority for us.
Why is the public broadcaster the right partner for this series? This is a big question that we ask of each incoming pitch. Where is the added public value in your concept? Why is CBC the best platform to tell your story? A docuseries set in a cupcake shop, or a tattoo removal competition might be perfect for a specialty network, but would be lacking that layer of value that is essential for CBC. Will your concept spark conversation about what it means to be Canadian? Is it an expression of who we are as a country?
We encourage producers to begin by familiarizing yourselves with our shows. Watch CBC on TV or online. You can stream our televised content on your mobile device by downloading CBC Gem, which can be found in the Apple App Store or with Google Play. Set up a Google Alert so you can be notified when we greenlight a new show, or when there’s an article in the press about our programming.
One-page pitches should be sent to the contact below, along with a signed copy of the CBC's Submission Release Form which can be downloaded from this website. If you have any video to support your pitch (ie: host or talent tape, short teaser, etc.) you may include links in your email. 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 and refinement of the program proposal. 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.
For more information on CBC's Business and Rights processes please visit: CBC Business and Rights.
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