THIRTEEN accepts proposals for limited series, single stand-alone programs that can be broadcast as specials, single programs that fit existing strands, and short program segments that can fit existing programs.
If you wish to submit a completed film to THIRTEEN, please review the submission policy of THIRTEEN’s Scheduling and Acquisitions Department.
Submitting Proposals To THIRTEEN
All unsolicited proposals must be submitted online. When submitting a proposal to THIRTEEN you will need to indicate to which content area or program you are submitting. THIRTEEN’s programming includes Performance and Arts, News and Current Affairs, Science & Nature, Documentaries, and Children’s and Educational Media. Existing national programs include American Masters, Great Performances, Nature, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and PBS NewsHour Weekend. Local programs include NYC-Arts, Reel 13, Treasures of New York, and MetroFocus.
As a major provider of content for PBS, we receive hundreds of proposals each year, many on the same or similar subjects. And although we do consider unsolicited proposals, we develop and produce the majority of our programs on our own or in collaboration with existing production partners. Our decision to pursue an unsolicited proposal will be based on the originality and importance of the content, the qualifications and experience of the producer, director, and other key production personnel, and the availability of resources with which to pursue further development and production.
The submission forms below will require some basic information from you as well as your consent to a standard release. Proposals should be kept to a reasonable length and, if possible, include a budget. Please do not send video material unless requested.
After you have submitted your proposal, you will receive an email acknowledging that we have received it and that it has been sent to the appropriate department for review. We will only contact you further if we have an interest in pursuing your proposal. Please begin the submission process by filling out the proposal submission form.
The Scheduling and Acquisitions Department identifies, screens, and evaluates completed programs from a broad variety of sources for possible inclusion in the local THIRTEEN broadcast schedule. Due to an ever-increasing number of new programs on the one hand, and drastically reduced budgets and discretionary air time on the other, most program submissions cannot be entertained.
We are interested in completed programs only (no proposals, or shows that require additional funding to complete).
Submit a short, written program description that must include its length and any funders; do not send tape.
Submissions should be e-mailed to Ana Ramos at email@example.com.
After you have submitted your program description, we will send you an email acknowledging that we have received it. We will only contact you further if we are interested in pursuing your program.
Programs acquired for broadcast on THIRTEEN are for local air only. They are not distributed nationally via PBS, or offered by us to other distributors or public television stations.
We cannot be responsible for unsolicited tapes or DVDs, which cannot be returned.
THIRTEEN’s Children’s and Educational Programming unit produces award-winning programs for PBS that spark imagination, encourage learning, and have lasting impact on kids’ lives. Cyberchase is an animated math adventure for elementary age kids, and Franny’s Feet, an animated series for preschoolers that promotes global awareness. Through a new partnership with HiT Entertainment, THIRTEEN is also co-producing Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, a new CGI series based on the beloved storybooks. Pipeline projects include the animated art series Artopia, a comic adventure for 6- to 8-year-olds, and Mission America, a groundbreaking videogame project. The unit seeks proposals and co-producers for innovative, character-based series with educational content for kids ages 2-10. Of particular interest are series aimed at preschoolers, innovative formats, and multiplatform projects that break new ground in digital media.
The leader in U.S. television programming on the arts, this unit produces, co-produces and acquires major series such as Make ‘Em Laugh, Power of Art with Simon Schama and outstanding two-to-three-hour specials such as Get Up, Stand Up, a history of music and protest. One-offs are generally not considered, unless they fit into one of the two major strands described below such as John Lennon’s Jukebox for Great Performances, and Marvin Gaye for American Masters – or are a good fit for pledge (fundraising) programming. Shows are broadcast in prime time and must be popular enough to generate strong ratings.
THIRTEEN produces local series, specials and documentary reports that focus on issues relevant to New Yorkers. SundayArts includes profiles, features and news, New York Voices focuses on community issues and politics, while short films and independent films are featured on REEL 13 and Reel New York as well as online. There are opportunities – though limited – for freelance segments with compelling stories and innovative production techniques that appeal to a New York audience.
As a primary producer of news and public affairs programs for PBS, this unit seeks proposals for limited series on current affairs subjects of major importance and, occasionally, recent history as well as one-offs for its award-winning international documentary series Wide Angle. Subjects should be of interest to an American audience and, for Wide Angle, to an international one as well. Innovation, character-driven narrative and substance are key.
Nature and Secrets of the Dead are the two main strands in this unit, which also produces and co-produces 2-to-6 part series and specials about science, technology, natural history, the environment and history. Projects range from blue chip wildlife films to monumental American history anthologies to stories about the innovations that are changing our world. Styles and formats vary dramatically and the department welcomes thoughtful, original, and entertaining approaches to our genres.
This award-winning biography series, celebrates our nation’s arts and culture. It has just completed its 22nd broadcast season and is still acclaimed as “the best biographical series ever to appear on television.” American Masters has produced an exceptional body of work, exploring the lives and illuminating the creative journeys of more than 150 of America’s most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers. In content and style, these are uniquely crafted programs, reflecting the particular attention deserved by each of our subjects, reflecting the extraordinary mosaic of our creative heritage and traditions. However, American Masters produces most of its programming in-house and is able to accept very few proposals. pbs.org/americanmasters
With 2008-09 marking its 36th season on PBS, Great Performances (along with its sub-series Great Performances@The Met and Dance in America) brings the best in the performing arts from across America and around the world to a US television audience. The only continuing primetime performance showcase on American television, Great Performances develops, produces, co-produces and acquires a diverse programming portfolio of classical music, opera, popular song, musical theater, dance, drama, and performance documentaries. Regardless of geographic or economic limitations, Great Performances ensures its audiences “the best seats in the house,” with a roster of artists and performing arts companies that represent a “Who’s Who” of excellence and virtuosity in the international performing arts. pbs.org/gperf
Currently in its third season, Exposé is the only documentary series on television to shine a light on the best and most current investigative journalism in America. Each of the original, half-hour documentaries follows reporters on the trail of a story as they chase down leads, question those in power, receive anonymous tips, analyze boxes of documents, visit the scenes, cultivate inside sources, pursue hunches, check and recheck facts – in an effort to reveal wrongdoing by those who are supposed to be serving the public interest. The program brings the audience close to investigations that have rocked communities, shaken up the powers-that-be, and truly made a difference. Exposé casts a wide net with respect to the topics featured – FEMA, clinical drug trial safety, human trafficking, to name a few – and has worked with journalists from a wide-range of newspapers including The Washington Post, The Oregonian, The Harford Courant, The Seattle Times, and the Idaho Falls Post Register. thirteen.org/expose
The premier natural history series on American television, Nature is in its 27th season. The series works with major natural history producers/distributors and is interested in one-offs and mini-series (no more than three parts). Shows should be an hour in length with HD as the required format. The series features “blue chip” animal behavior films as well as exciting and engaging stories about the human-animal relationship. pbs.org/nature
Need to Know, a weekly public affairs program airing nationally on PBS stations, was recently renewed for its third season. Its single-topic, 30-minute format features in-depth reports focusing on how policies set in Washington actually affect “ordinary Americans” on Main Street. During the past season, the show has filed original reports from more than a dozen states including California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Virginia, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada. The broadcast is hosted by a rotating group of anchors including Ray Suarez of the PBS NewsHour, Scott Simon of NPR, Maria Hinojosa of PBS and NPR, and noted political writer and commentator Jeff Greenfield. The show also features a weekly essay segment titled American Voices, highlighting the nation’s diversity and its diverse points of view. pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know
Every Saturday night, Reel 13 brings NY-area viewers a complete movie experience, featuring a Classic movie, a short, and an Independent film. Reel 13 Classics are all-time Hollywood favorites introduced on location by renowned film historian Neal Gabler. Filmmaker Christine Turner announces the Reel 13 Short, which has been chosen for broadcast by fans voting at Reel 13.org. The night concludes with Reel 13 Indies. Selected from the world’s leading film festivals, these edgy, contemporary films are produced outside the traditional Hollywood studio system and make their New York broadcast debut on Reel 13. They are introduced by Richard Pena, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. To submit a film, visit Reel 13.org.
Now in its twelfth year, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, hosted by Bob Abernethy, remains the only mainstream television news program devoted to coverage of religion and the significant moral issues of our times. A weekly half-hour newsmagazine, called by the Minneapolis Star Tribune “One of the most thoughtful and satisfying magazine series on the air,” its content includes breaking news, profiles and reports from around the U.S. and the world, all crafted by seasoned producers and skilled correspondents. thirteen.org/religionandethics
Since its premiere in 2000, Secrets of the Dead has built its brand around high-quality single-hour films that use scientific and historical investigations to shed new light on iconic moments from the past. Innovative forensic and investigative techniques, testable hypotheses and strong central characters are key, as is the ability to debunk accepted historical wisdom or uncover forgotten history. All Secrets of the Dead episodes are co-productions, so story ideas should appeal to an international audience and/or already have co-production partners in place. pbs.org/secrets
A showcase for New York City’s most celebrated cultural arts institutions as well as feature presentations of THIRTEEN’s national performances. This block of programming on Sunday afternoons allows arts enthusiasts to access the city’s cultural best, serving as a guide for New York’s extraordinary culture scene. Hosted by Philippe de Montebello, the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Paula Zahn, SundayArts offers insightful introductions, on-location interviews with members of the art world, and news profiles. SundayArts News segments provide a select calendar of art events for the week. Feature presentations of opera, dance, and film represent the best of THIRTEEN’s national performance schedule. SundayArts Choice segments offer curators and artists discussing current exhibits and performances from the diverse and eclectic New York arts scene. thirteen.org/sundayarts
The only American television program exclusively dedicated to international current affairs documentaries, Wide Angle returns for its eighth season in prime time in June 2009. For each broadcast, producers and journalists from around the globe report on an event, issue or trend through the eyes of the people who are living it day to day. In its first seven seasons, Wide Angle traveled to more than 50 countries to explore the forces that are shaping the world today, presenting global stories on a human scale and offering Americans uncommon and invaluable insight into today’s interconnected world. Proposals and acquisitions are reviewed on an on-going basis from November through June. pbs.org/wideangle
Celebrating its fourth year of production in 2012, Thirteen’s weekly newsmagazine (SundayArts) moved into primetime on Thursdays and was renamed NYC-ARTS. Featuring the best in the world of arts and culture in our area, recent programming highlights include interviews with filmmaker Ed Burns, actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith, philanthropist/art collector Ronald S. Lauder, baritone Thomas Hampson, violinist Mark O’Connor, pianist Jeremy Denk, artist Kiki Smith, and author Jennifer Egan, as well as feature/profiles on Theater for a New Audience, The Emerson String Quartet and American Ballet Theater. nyc-arts.org
MetroFocus is a multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. The MetroFocus television program features interviews, in-depth reporting, content from many partners and solutions-oriented reports from the community. Major areas of coverage include sustainability, education, science and technology, the environment, transportation, poverty and underserved communities. MetroFocus.org amplifies that reporting with daily updates and original stories that also cover culture, government and politics, the economy, urban development and other news in the metropolitan region. View our full episodes, segments and web extras on our Watch MetroFocus page.