Commissioning

Commissioning

Commissioning & ideas submission

Hello,

We've put this together to give you a quick briefing on how commissioning works here at Sky.

Sky is different to other broadcasters because we are a subscription business – we create television that is worth paying for.

The biggest difference is that, because we are all about quality and providing something that Free-To-Air TV doesn't, we commission fewer projects, and have a much leaner team than other broadcasters. In turn, this means we only arrange meetings to discuss ideas we love, that have the potential to be developed and made for our channels.

The big question, then, is how to get an idea going at Sky.

Simply email the relevant genre teams with your initial ideas, contact details can be found below. We don’t accept scripts or ideas from the general public. For members of the general public with good ideas, we suggest you contact an agent or production company about it so that they can help you develop it for us.

We promise to acknowledge ideas within 48 hours of them being sent in and then reply to them as soon as possible. This can take up to 4 weeks for entertainment and arts and 6 weeks in scripted. If we like the idea, we will then ask you in for a meeting. Meetings start on time and don’t last hours. We know you’re all as busy as we are. We don’t have slots to fill like other broadcasters, we are making pay television, so these are tent pole pieces specifically for our customers, and they are all different so they don’t fit a tariff model.

We hope you have found this briefing helpful, have a read of the rest of this page, where each genre head has run through the tone of their area, and what type of things they are looking for.

Thanks so much

Zai Bennett
MD Content, Sky UK & ROI

Channels

Before emailing the relevant genre team with your proposal, please ensure you have read and agree with the Terms and Conditions found at the bottom of this page.

Genre heads

DRAMA (Gabriel Silver/ Liz Lewin/ Manpreet Dosanjh/ Paul Gilbert)

The drama team look for 6-8 shows per year to play across Sky Atlantic and Sky One. Across both channels, we seek out shows that are authored, brave and unconventional. We can be funny, sad, light, dark, action-led, relationship-orientated or even fantasy-based. What we can never be is ordinary, bleak or predictable. Memorable characters and heartfelt emotion underpin everything we do. We look hard for dramas that confidently stand out from the crowd and create an impact.

COMEDY (Jon Montague)

The simple metric for scripted comedy is - make us laugh. Our customers expect shows that are arrestingly funny. We're after surprising shows that deliver great performers and brilliantly memorable characters. The best comedy is relatable, but never predictable. Our commissioning team is extremely collaborative but we have high standards; Sky is the place where the finest comedy performers, writers, directors and producers can do their very best work. If you can bring our customers premium talent, premium laughs and premium production values, we'll take care of the rest.

Our chief area of focus is Sky One. Quite simply we're looking for two types of post-watershed show, and comedy for Sky Arts:

  • Hour long comedy-drama at 9pm. We've had great success here with titles such as Stella and Mount Pleasant. We're building on that. We want big comic engines at the heart of our shows that easily sustain an hour and leave you gagging for more. Don't be afraid of scale - both on screen and in premise.
  • Half hour narrative comedy at 10pm. We can go edgier here, don't be afraid to push boundaries, if we're not talked about we're not succeeding. We don't have to build our 10pm pieces around traditional family units. In fact the more you can subvert and surprise the better. Big talent is always good but we'll listen to inventive casting thoughts too.
  • Comedy on Sky Arts - We are looking for single half hour comedies with a foot firmly in the arts and culture camp. We've enjoyed success here with the award winning 'Psychobitches', 'A Young Doctor's Notebook' and our highly acclaimed recent series 'Urban Myths' of which we're likely to do more.

Send solicited scripts/treatments - cc-ing Nicole.muldowney@sky.uk - to

  • Jon Mountague – Head of Comedy Jon.mountague@sky.uk
  • Tilusha Ghelani – Commissioning Editor Tilusha.ghelani@sky.uk

ENTERTAINMENT (Phil Edgar-Jones)

SKY ONE

We are in the market for:

  • Comedy Entertainment formats with talent attached. All post watershed so with a late-night sensibility. Tonally, A League of their Own, The Russell Howard Hour, Rob and Rom Meet, There’s Something About Movies should give you a sense of the Sky feel.
  • Event pieces with talent with a unique skill (Dynamo is our top performing show in this space

Not in the market for:

  • Reality or Fact Ent formats.
  • Features style programming.
  • Gameshows.

SKY ARTS

We are fully commissioned for the next few months (into the first quarter of 2021) so think a little more long-term. There are three pillars to our activity on Sky Arts: Accessibility; Inclusivity; Participation. We want to work directly with artists across all genres and ideas should have a real-world presence where possible. We can be quite experimental and encourage artists to come up with ideas that don’t necessarily follow TV conventions. We’ll also look at short run series and one-off authored docs as co-productions – single subjects always work best as our audiences often come to the channel seeking a subject or artists they are interested in. We’re not afraid to be niche or academic in some instances.

Best to avoid multi-item shows – don’t try and be too broad. We are not looking for scripted pieces beyond our Urban Myths strand.

Contacts:

Director: philip.edgar-jones@sky.uk Assistant: gillian.buckley@sky.uk

Sky One commissioning: shirley.jones@sky.uk

Sky Arts commissioning: barbara.lee@sky.uk; benedetta.pinelli@sky.uk

Sky Arts Co-productions: jack.oliver@sky.uk

    SKY KIDS (Lucy Murphy)

    We commission in the below areas with a focus on UK origination:

    • Quality content for kids aged 4 to 12 in factual entertainment and drama.
    • Short-form and digital-first content in music, dance, sport, comedy, animals and pranks.
    • Animated TV specials.
    • All genres of preschool.

    For all submissions please contact the Sky Kids Commissioning Editors via

    FACTUAL (Poppy Dixon)

    SKY DOCUMENTARIES:

    We are commissioning feature documentaries and multi-episode (2-6 part) limited series, driven by strong narrative storytelling and a confident directorial vision. We’re not currently seeking formats, presenter-led projects or series with stand-alone episodes. We want and need a broad range of subjects – scandal, crime-capers, sport, politics, definitive biography, stranger-than-fiction tales – but of course not limited to these areas. The channel will be international in scope, but we are currently leaning towards more British stories, to balance out our international acquisitions. We can both fully commission or co-produce, and can come on board with projects at various stages of the production process.

    Industry professionals only, please send toplines, proposals and/or sizzle reels to Director of Documentaries and Factual Poppy.Dixon@sky.uk

    SKY NATURE:

    We are only commissioning a handful of premium natural history shows a year – so please only send us your very best blue-chip nature ideas.

    Industry professionals only, please send toplines, proposals and/or sizzle reels to Director of Documentaries and Factual Poppy.Dixon@sky.uk

    SKY CRIME:

    We will look at both returnable, closed-episodic series, as well as premium, multi-part limited series. Our preference currently, for our original commissions, is for UK stories.

    Industry professionals only, please send toplines, proposals and/or sizzle reels to Director of Documentaries and Factual Poppy.Dixon@sky.uk

    Terms & conditions

    Before emailing the relevant genre team with your proposal, please ensure you have read and agree with the our terms and conditions available below.

    Programme proposal terms & conditions >