The future of writing sitcoms

I've been reading the forums for a little while now and from what I've read it seems incredibly difficult to get a sitcom you've written read, let alone produced. So I was just wondering, in 50 years time say, when current writers have moved on to pastures new ahem, who will be writing the sitcoms?!

It's difficult for unknowns to get scripts read, it's far far easier for writers/performers with existing careers/connections. It has always been like this. There are lots of people writing sitcoms but very few sitcoms are needed. I doubt we will get to the stage where all current sitcom writers die and the industry has forgotten to hire new ones, leading to a worldwide drought of sitcoms, leading to an uprising by the furious audience leading to a violent confrontation with TV executives resulting in a bleak post-apocalyptic landscape where sitcoms are but a memory and we all have to eat our own pets to survive. Not saying that won't happen, just that it's unlikely.

So, I would say that your question is more to do with 'how will writers with no connections and/or portfolio of previous work get sitcoms read and produced by TV companies' and the answer is something like 'an infinitesimally small number of unknown writers might get lucky, but the vast majority of sitcoms will be produced from scripts written by established writers for established performers', if your next question is 'how do writers get to be established?' I would say that trying to get to established writer status by writing a sitcom is extremely difficult and is not a sensible approach, very few companies will risk the massive investment needed to produce a sitcom by an unknown writer. More likely is a writer establishing themselves through smaller projects and then, maybe, possibly, managing to get interest in a sitcom they have written. It will be much easier to get this sitcom read by the right people because it will be coming from someone they know or are at least aware of, rather than being found in a pile of spec scripts in a slush pile.

But we live in a wild and crazy world, it is not impossible for an unknown writer to get a sitcom read, commissioned and produced, so keep at it those of you who are trying this!

I guess new writers. One of the reasons its so hard is because everyone thinks they can write a sitcom. There are probably more new TV sitcoms produced today.

I guess new writers. One of the reasons its so hard is because everyone thinks they can write a sitcom. There are probably more new TV sitcoms produced today.

It's incredibly difficult to become a pop-star.
Yet we don't seem to be running out.
A Chappers says, now that everyone thinks they can do it, the percentage of successful 'applicants' is bound to go down.

If you have a funny idea for an advert and send it in to a company they won't use it.


There is still hope.

It's also worth checking out critique and similar sites.

A sitcom too get anywhere needs to; follow the formula, but be original, be of the zeitgeist, be funny and entertaining.

Now how many scripts do you to read that tick all those boxes.

Traditionally of course, writers of sitcom weren't people writing on a forum.

Tell that to Father Ted boy!

One of the main problems, like most mediums these days is originality.

Boy? Are you in your sixties Marc?

Quote: Nick81 @ 3rd February 2015, 10:59 AM GMT

One of the main problems, like most mediums these days is originality.

Everyone says that.

Originality is an overused word when it comes to the failure of a script. Facets of it can be original, but there's no replacement for good writing and following the rules that simply work. Writers can try too hard to be original I think, and forget a golden rule which for me makes or breaks a good comedy. That is, the characters are people I want to spend time with. Why do people re-watch their favourite comedies again and again, when they know every joke backwards? Because what's left are the people in it you want to re-visit.

very few characters or plots in the sitcom world are original, everything's borrowed or re-told. It's the unique perspectives of a writer that live in characters we love, that will carry the day. There may be a slush pile of scripts, and I bet 90% of them are gunning for that originality rather than creating a world the reader wants to be in. With hard work and a bit of nous, you can get your script read. But you'll get few chances. So make it good, not necessarily 'original'.

The key to getting a sitcom read is research.

You target a production company, stalk their staff on Facebook for a couple of weeks, locate their house, their usual sandwich eating spots. Next, break in late at night, and find whose desk has all the scripts on and put your scripts in their top drawer. You then kidnap their children, and post a video of them next to a container ship bound for Syria. If they don't have any children, a favourite pet or house-plant will do.

This will get your script read, but it's hit and miss if it'll get produced. It has to stand on its own two feet after this. IF you remembered to add feet.

And don't do what I did, and go through all that, only to forget to leave the scripts in the top drawer. Doh. I'm running out of producers' children.


It's actually not that difficult to get a sitcom read. Rather, it is difficult to write a sitcom that will be made. Like mentioned above, you can do some research and make contact with producers and companies. You can pitch it to them and if they like that they'll read the script.

They mainly get terrible scripts, though. In a way the expectation should not be to try and get your sitcom made. Just do a spec script and you might show enough potential to work on an existing show or a new one. Even getting feedback and notes is going to help.

It's impossible to say what the state of sitcom will be in 5 years let alone 50. They are still being made now, some are very good, some are by new writers, so sitcom is still very much alive.