Global Pitch Guide preview: Darren Campo, truTV

Our Global Pitch Guide is coming soon! As a taster, here's a look at what truTV's SVP of programming, production and development, Darren Campo, is looking for, and the best way to get it to him.
September 9, 2010

Our Global Pitch Guide is coming soon! As a taster, here’s a look at what truTV’s SVP of programming, production and development, Darren Campo, is looking for, and the best way to get it to him.

‘We’re looking to evolve our successful programming in the areas of real people on the job and active non-crime investigations,’ says Campo. More specifically, the Turner-owned network is looking for a companion series for Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, great characters in the hunting and fishing worlds, and high-profile, high-concept series that will expand the truTV brand.

The majority of truTV’s schedule is made up of returning series, so the network doesn’t have a target for new hours. About 10% of its programming is acquired, so the focus is really on original programming.

Campo says the network targets a group they call ‘Real Engagers,’ which are men and women aged 35 to 44 who love programming featuring real people and real situations and elements of danger, conflict, competition, and humor. Some examples of that are high rating new series All Worked Up, Full Throttle, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura and Southern Fried Stings. Series orders generally start off as six or eight episodes and go up from there.

TruTV is scaling back on developing shows that might too closely overlap with current successful series, such as Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel and Operation Repo. Crime and law enforcement programming are also low priorities as the net gets further into its rebrand. This network isn’t looking for one-offs, and instead prefers that every pilot going into production has strong series potential.

The best way to pitch is to contact one of the directors of development, Matt Gould or Paul Hardy ( and and set a time for a meeting or phone pitch with them. A good idea can be pitched in a sentence or two, so a full show bible isn’t necessary. It’s best to avoid pitches that involve past-tense storytelling or overly contrived set-ups as well as projects that are overly scientific or historic in nature. ‘Our audience loves being immersed in the moment so certain genres don’t naturally lend themselves to this type of storytelling,’ he says.

Campo attends Realscreen Summit, Factual Entertainment Forum, NATPE, Banff, MIPTV, MIPCOM, and Hot Docs.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.