2019 Results:

The Dream Machine
by Elisa Eliot

Runner-up (tie)
The Haloperidol Files
by Adrienne Arno and Kal-El Bogdanove

Meanwhile, Elsewhere
by John Hooper

Winner Receives:
$1,000 | script development | industry circulation
*feedback included on all entries

The 15th Great TV Show Idea Contest is looking for the next big television series--a story that puts a clever spin on the types of successful shows picked up by networks and digital platforms. All genres and formats allowed, including anthology, limited series, and short-form digital series. Completed pilot scripts are not reviewed, nor are entrants required to have a pilot, as we help develop the winner and runner-up.

Every entrant receives brief feedback from a judge with remarks on the pitch's marketability and originality, sent after final judging is completed. Optional extended notes are available during registration.

For the winner, Script Pipeline provides additional, long-term assistance to refine the pitch, or help the writer draft a polished pilot or series outline. Our execs review the project and offer feedback at all stages of development. When the work is ready for circulation, we send the material to specific producers who would be a good match, including partners at Good Fear Film + Management (Mulan), Zero Gravity Management (Ozark), QC Entertainment (Get Out), and others looking for relevant, high-concept, marketable films.

All writers retain the rights to their pitch, and development assistance for the winner is entirely optional.

The company’s intensive process, consisting of long-term writer development and widespread circulation of material, gives Script Pipeline writers access to some of the top industry execs worldwide. $7 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by competition finalists and "Recommend" writers, with several scripts produced since 1999. As of summer 2019, over 10 films and series from Script Pipeline writers are in active development or production, with some due for release later this year. The Great Movie and TV Show Idea Competitions aim to continue this successful process by working one-on-one with writers to fine-tune their writing skills and push worthwhile stories into production.

"Script Pipeline helped me develop my pilot, found me representation, and played a key role in getting a very ambitious TV project to some of the top producers, showrunners, and even networks. Their continual support and guidance has been invaluable--they are second to none."
- Kevin Jones, Idea Contest Winner

Grand Prize Winner (1) - Announced February 3rd, 2020

  • $1,000
  • Extensive development sessions with Script Pipeline to get your concept ready for circulation
  • Assistance in completing a TV pilot script (optional)
  • Long-term exposure to producers and other companies for potential development
  • Review and development of additional pitches and material

Runner-up (1) - Announced February 3rd, 2020

  • Development with Script Pipeline executives to fine-tune your pitch
  • Industry circulation consideration for the pitch or a previously existing pilot
  • Review of additional pitches and material

"In a matter of hours, Script Pipeline achieved what I’d been trying to do for years: they got my foot in the door. . . and changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined."
- Justin Daries James, TV Contest Winner

Script Pipeline's criteria is based primarily on the overall originality marketability of the concept, preferably hitting a "Goldilocks zone" between commercial/mainstream and something wholly new and artistic.

Although we're extremely strict on judging, all types of genres, styles, and premises are accepted (must be for a scripted series, not reality or game show). In the past, selected ideas have ranged from character-driven dramatic series, to sitcoms and animation, true stories, and hourlong dramas. Anything unique and universally appealing is fair game.

Industry contacts reviewing winner includes:

For execs interested in reviewing Script Pipeline competition winners, email us or complete the industry request form here. We will only consider applicants who are active producers, agents, managers, or directors.

"The best part of being a contest finalist is what happens after--getting read by industry members I couldn't access on my own, feedback on future projects, and a priceless ongoing guidance."
- Romi Moondi, Screenwriting Contest Finalist

We accept pitches for:

  • Scripted television series in ANY genre
  • Original, standalone mini-series (EX: Big Little Lies, True Detective)
  • Digital series pitches intended to be adapted for cable or network television, or to be independently produced
  • Note: Pitches for reality TV and game shows are not accepted. Must be for a scripted series.

Written or video submissions accepted. For written pitches:

  • Must submit a full story synopsis. This can range from a page in length to a full treatment--entirely up to you on how to best present your idea. We do not judge on format, we judge on the idea itself. Supplemental materials (illustrations, etc.) are allowed. The best format is usually comprised of a logline, a page-long summary, and any other comments on the originality of the premise.
  • Please do not send full-length scripts--summaries ONLY. Pitches may be emailed direct or uploaded.
  • Remove your name and contact information from the documents prior to submitting.
  • Longer submissions are judged on the same criteria as short ones, so whatever length you think is best.

For video pitches:

  • Submit a link to the video after registration through email. We prefer a private link on YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video hosting site, or your personal website. *make sure to include the password, if private
  • Videos can be any length, but shorter is typically better.

General rules:

  • Concept must be for a scripted television series.
  • Script Pipeline will not share your idea with anyone unless you’re chosen as a winner or runner-up and give us explicit permission to do so.
  • Previous Script Pipeline writers and former Great TV Show Idea contest entrants are welcome to submit, but material must not have been previously entered.
  • Should go without saying, but the concept needs to be WHOLLY ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise.

View complete rules and guidelines here

"The dedicated Script Pipeline staff root for you and your writing career every step of the way. They champion your work and sing its praises to exciting industry contacts. I've never been so honored to win a contest and will carry this achievement to push me through those tougher days of writing."
- Kay Tuxford, TV Writing Contest Winner


Next season opens February 3rd, 2020.


All rights remain with the writer, regardless of the contest results, and no one outside of Script Pipeline's team of judges will review your entry without the writer's permission. For the winner, we will not send out their winning idea until we have their consent and mutually deem the project "circulation ready."


Yes, ALL entrants receive brief, general feedback (appx. a short paragraph in length) on their pitch, specifically covering our thoughts on marketability and originality. Feedback is sent after final judging is completed.

For longer, more in-depth feedback, entrants may receive an exclusive discounted rate on Treatment / Pitch Notes that cover everything from plot and concept to marketability and character. A sample can be found here. These additional notes are optional and kept separate from the judging process--meaning you'll have a different reader during judging.


Yes, absolutely. Anyone worldwide can enter.


A full synopsis is required, detailing the story beginning, middle, and end. Can be brief, anywhere from 1-3 pages is typical. We'll also review video pitches through a private link or as an attached file. Whatever format you prefer that best exemplifies your idea.

Also remove your name and contact information from the materials prior to submitting.


No. If for some reason we can't open the file, or link, or there's an issue with the entry itself, we'll contact you, and you'll be able to re-send.


For entrants whose pitch documents have a cover page, please exclude your name and email. Should only be title of the project.


Not at all. If you do, great, but it won't affect the outcome of the contest. We're just looking for original, unique concepts. Our development team will assist in refining the pitch and helping you get started on the pilot script itself.

While that might indicate the competition is open only to screenwriters, it's not: we'll help you develop a first draft of a pilot, if the winning entrant decides to write the script.


There is no limit to the number of entries. Each idea, however, is a separate entry fee.


Yes, as long as the idea is original (i.e. your own creation), or you've retained the film adaptation rights to a property that isn't yours.

Email our contest coordinator with any other questions.

Tripper Clancy Sells Stuber and Multiple Specs to Studios

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2009 before selling several specs.

A few months after the screenwriting competition ended, 20th Century Fox selected Tripper for their feature comedy writing team to help develop new material. Later, he was hired to write the animated feature Shedd for Paramount, the Amazon film High Five, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro, and an adaptation of The Art of Fielding for Mandalay / IMG. He also sold additional specs The Ambassadors and Winter Break.

His first studio feature, Stuber (2019) sold in the mid-six figures. The action-comedy stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Mira Sorvino, and Betty Gilpin (Glow). Following the release of Stuber, Tripper was brought on to write multiple film and TV projects, including a Varsity Blues reboot for Quibi.

Fox Buys Show from Script Pipeline Contest Runner-up

Runner-up in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition, Laura Bensick sold her show Everyday Insanity to Fox. Ken Olin (This is Us) and Sterling K. Brown producing. The drama series addresses mental illness within three different families who come together to form one supportive group.

Laura placed with the hourlong drama The Mother in the 2016 Script Pipeline season, besting over 2,500 other pilots. In 2019, Bensick’s autobiographical play Life in Paradox, premiered in Los Angeles.

Everyday Insanity is Laura’s first TV show sale.

One of the Biggest Spec Sales in History from Script Pipeline Winner

SWATHposter2016After introductions by Script Pipeline to management, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3.25 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales of all-time and subsequently turned Evan into one of the most in-demand writers in Hollywood. The film has grossed $450 million worldwide.

Shortly following the contest win, Evan landed an assignment with Warner Bros. to rewrite the adaptation of He-Man, which led to the sale of Snow White.

Amongst selling a pilot pitch, as well as writing and producing roles with NBC's Midnight, Mass. and the series Five Ghosts, Evan wrote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, produced by Michael Bay. Other studio projects: the adaptation of YA novel Divergent for Summit Entertainment, starring Shailene Woodley and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet, the Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander, and Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan, which is in development with Vinson Films and Disney.

Script Pipeline Winner becomes Acclaimed Indie Hit

Henry Dunham's The Standoff at Sparrow Creek was produced with an ensemble cast featuring James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk served as producers.

The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It was released in January 2019.

The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition before being picked up by Cinestate. Writer Henry Dunham was connected with representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with Pipeline industry partner Lit Entertainment and UTA.

Top critics from The Hollywood ReporterSlashFilm, and others praised Henry's directorial debut, and Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in January 2019.

Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Screenplay

The Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Shrapnel by Evan Daugherty was turned into the film Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Corsan and Millennium Films helmed the action/thriller and rehashed the original plot during development.

It was the first Script Pipeline competition winner to get produced.

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I've been amazed at the quality and depth of the development my idea has received since winning the Idea Contest. I know my concept in a richer, deeper way than I did before thanks to Script Pipeline."
- Bryce McClellan, Idea Contest Winner

15th Great TV Show Idea Contest

2019 winner announced February 1st

Next season opens in February