TV shows are categorized (according to their STORY CONTENT) into:
Fictional and Non Fictional TV shows

FICTIONAL TV SHOWS; include:
TV Comedies and TV Dramas

TV Comedies can further be broken down into types like Situation comedy (Sit-Com),
TV Dramas can also be further broken down into types like Soap Opera, Family drama 

NON FICTIONAL TV SHOWS; include:
TV Documentaries, News, and  Reality TV show

Reality TV show can further be broken down into types: game show (which include shows like Lip Sync battle, who wants to be a millionaire, rap battle, cooking competition), Talk show, Music show, Award shows, family show
The aim of a game show is to create a competition that will incite entertainment in the audience.

TV documentaries are vast. They explore almost every field in life - Technology, Sports, Society, Sexuality, Science,  Religion, Psychology, Politics, Philosophy, Performing arts, Nature, Mystery, Military & war, Media, History, Health, Environment, Economics, Drugs, Crime, Conspiracy, Comedy, Biography, Art & Artists
TV documentaries do explore all the topics found in the listed fields. They help define concepts, expatiate facts, explain mechanisms and demystify theories in the various topics. They also tell the history of the characters, both living and non-living found in the topics.


TV shows can also be classified (according to their STORY MODE) into:

TOPICAL; as in the case of News and TV Dramas

HISTORICAL; as in the case of TV Documentaries and Reality TV show

INSTRUCTIONAL or EDUCATIONAL; as in the case of TV game show, Talk show,

ENTERTAINING; as in the case of TV Comedy, TV game show, Music show, Award show, family show,


Scripts for TV Comedy and Drama shows are usually written in episodes. And the first episode of a TV Comedy and Drama show is called PILOT.
Unlike the normal feature film screenplays (the normal movie scripts), scripts for a TV Drama show contain different separate short stories acted by almost the same character ensemble. The different short stories are integral parts which build up the main story of the show; and which in turn depicts the main theme of the show. This is to say that the main aim of a TV Drama show is to tell a particular story in order to send an important message using different separate short stories that run for short durations of TV time.
The events that occur in the different separate short stories in the particular duration (20-22 mins) of TV time are called EPISODES.

NOTE: Some TV Drama shows are not written in episodes, but rather, they are just a feature film written in sort of acts. The acts may be up to any number, depending on the number of times the producer wants the film to run on TV time, disguised in form of episodes. Example of such TV drama in Nigeria is that of Wale Adenuga's productions' SUPER STORY.


Remember, the first EPISODE is called PILOT. The pilot is the most important part of a TV Drama show. The reason is this; the Pilot: 
(1) Opens the mind of the audience to the kind of theme, genre, mode of story, emotions and suspense they are about to experience in the whole show.

(2) Introduces the central character in the show. The central character is the main character around the story in the show is revolving on.
It doesn't just introduce the main character. It also states the physical and biological nature of the character, and how the character is well adapted for the events that are about to occur inside the story of the whole show.

(3) Introduces the main cast. Apart from introducing just the central character, other characters that are supportive to the central character are also introduced.

(4) Introduces the world in the show. The world in the show means the setting, the theme, the conflict, the villain, the main reason of the story, and the aim of the central & supporting characters in the show.

(5) Provides a testing ground to gauge whether the series will be successful. Here the pilot is serving as a test episode where deliberations are being made if the following episodes could be realistic

(6) Is used to sell the show to a television network. In a situation where a writer or a producer has an intention to sell his show to a network, it's the pilot that would determine how far the deal goes.
The more thrilling and wonderful the pilot, the more the chances of a successful sale deal

(7) Is used to discover whether an entertaining concept can be successfully realized.

(8) It provides prototypes of the shows that are to follow.

(9) A guide to future series more especially when they have not been written

(10) Serving as a tentative model


Things to take note when writing a Pilot 
(1) No back story: Go straight to the point and don't start telling the audience what has happened earlier before now. Go straight to the present story. Write the events happening at moment in which the central character has found himself Write on the current situation. Explore on the current actions. No flashbacks, no montages, no distractions, no back story!

(2) Communicate the shows tone: What's the genre of the show? What's the setting? What's the theme? What's the conflict in the show? Who's the hero and who's the villain? Show at least little details of all the above questions.

(3) Use the pilot to determine how long the series can last: The pilot establishes the nature of the show. It states the story, the theme, the plot, the setting, the cast and the conflict. So in order to, for instance, elongate the series, the writer needs to choose a setting/plot, occupation and state of the characters, theme and conflict that can spontaneously generate stories, actions and dialogues. These help to elongate the series and in turn create more episodes.

(4) Use the pilot to show how every other episode will work; (what will be done repeatedly?) is it going to be close ended mystery? Or will each episode deal with how to solve a particular reoccurring issue.
In some shows, the episodes are distinct. This means that every episode is an entirely different story; and different means of tackling the 'lingering/repeated problems' in the story. Though the episodes follow same theme, setting, plot, same 'lingering/repeated problem/conflict' and same cast ensemble, but then the means of solving the 'repeated problem' will differ. This automatically means that the story must differ. Example is
But in some other shows the stories in the episodes is a continuation of the last one.

(5) Use the pilot to tell which it is in number 4 above


Writing a Pilot is like writing the first five pages of a feature film screenplay.
To write and present the best Pilot, you need to: 
(1) Examine and Master the other episodes to know exactly what's going on (before you even write the Pilot, you should have developed the other episodes)

(2) Spark up an idea

(3) Tell the conflict, the bone of contention, The reason for the events in the story

(4) Build your characters, present them and define them

(5) Show the plot


(6) Write lively and impressive dialogue. TV Drama shows are dialogue driven
Axact

Axact

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