// About

TV Mole is a one-stop resource to help you originate, research, write and successfully pitch your ideas to broadcast, digital or cable TV channels.

If you are a TV development producer, director, researcher or executive with factual/reality TV ideas you want to see on screen, TVMole is here to help you.

Ideas generation

Short articles point to interesting events, trends, websites, books, exhibitions, news stories and people.

This section is carefully curated to spark new factual programme ideas, stimulate discussion in brainstorms and help you spot potential onscreen talent and find experts. Click on the links in the right-hand column to find posts categorized into particular programming genres e.g. science, arts, history, documentary or lifestyle.

Check back daily for new entries.

Industry information

Links to key industry websites provide information about channels, commissioner moves, newly greenlit projects and audience figures.

How to… articles

A series of articles provide tips, advice and practical guidance on every aspect of TV development, including writing, pitching, ideas generation and dealing with commissioners in an international marketplace. Ideal if you are starting out in development or need a refresher.

Whether you are a professional development producer, need a development refresher or are a complete beginner, there is something here to help you.

Sign up for the free weekly email that details all the latest factual/reality commissions, executive moves, funding and pitching opportunities. It it delivered to your in-box first thing on a Monday morning. Read it over a cup of coffee for an inspiring start to your week.

Who is TV Mole?

Nicola Lees has developed hundreds of factual programmes for network and cable channels in the UK and USA, including the BBC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and TLC.

She has written more than 370 factual television programme proposals, and has been directly involved in originating, researching, writing or pitching more than 80 commissioned programs, including Oceans (BBC2), Moms on the Road (Travel Channel), How Not to Be Shark Bait (Discovery), Desperate Midwives (BBC3) and the BAFTA nominated Earth: Power of the Planet (BBC2/Nat Geo).

Nicola continues to develop programmes on a freelance basis and has consulted for international clients. She regularly leads seminars, has appeared as a guest speaker at a number of universities, Broadcast’s Production Show, and for various industry groups and associations. She currently runs a mentoring scheme for Women in Film and Television in London.  She is the author of Give Me the Money and I’ll Shoot! Finance Your Factual TV / Film Project (pub. Bloomsbury, May 2012)

She featured on the TV Collective Alternative Power List 2010

Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch

Nicola is the author of a book that reveals how to get ideas for a documentary or nonfiction television series such as Touching the Void, The Apprentice or Supernanny from concept to commission.

Step-by-step, it demystifies the TV development and commissioning process. You’ll learn how to:
•    Generate ideas every day, not just in brainstorms;
•    Write a compelling proposal that buyers will actually read;
•    Talent spot new presenters and keep them onside;
•    Exploit new opportunities offered by different platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook;
•    Pitch your idea to the right people;
•    Avoid common, embarrassing pitching mistakes;
•    Find alternative sources of funding;
•    Spot potential roadblocks and troubleshoot your proposal to make sure you get the greenlight.

Candid interviews with fifty top industry insiders – including international producers and buyers – reveal how globally successful shows were originally conceived and pitched. Each chapter is stuffed with case studies, practical tips, resource lists, sample proposals and exercises designed to boost your skills and help you develop your own commission-winning ideas. Read it straight through for a master class in development and commissioning, or dip in to specific chapters when you need a refresher.

Order now from:

Amazon UK (published in UK 31st August, 2010)

Amazon USA (published 15th November 2010)


What people are saying about the book:

“The inside track on TV development from one of the best developers in the business.” Saul Nassé, General Manager and Creative Head, BBC Worldwide Productions, India

“The book about TV commissioning that should never have been published.  Reveals too many secrets and too much insider know how.  We could do without the competition.”    Attracta McLaughlin, Head of Production, Positive Television, UK.

“Whether you’re a producer or a buyer, you’ll come away with a clear understanding of the steps necessary to get a program on the air.” Gary Lico, President/CEO, The Companies of CABLEready, USA