Frequently Asked Questions Answers You Need

Q:  How do I submit a proposal to PBS?

A:  Our Proposal Process page will provide comprehensive information on how to submit your materials to PBS for consideration.

Q:  Should I send my proposal to my local public television station or to PBS headquarters?

A:  Since PBS stations broadcast their own local programming in addition to national programming, proposals with a local or regional focus often find more success at the local station level.  Producers should contact the local station's program director for more information on programming priorities and proposal submission processes.  You are permitted to submit to PBS headquarters and individual stations concurrently.

Q:  Will my project be seen throughout the country?

A:  PBS has many means of distributing programming to our member stations. The National Program Service provides member stations with prime-time programming and daily children's shows.  Final scheduling authority, however, rests at the station level.

Q:  What other distribution does PBS have?

 A:  PBS Plus distributes fully-funded programs that are not carried by the National Program Service. 

Q:  Does PBS fund projects?

A:  PBS may provide some level of funding, but our resources are limited.  We recommend that producers come to PBS with full-funding or with a fundraising strategy to approach foundations and corporations for support.

Q:  Does PBS provide licensing and compensation?

A:  Funding, licensing fees, and acquisition fees are determined on a case-by-case basis and range depending on the project.  Any information on these details is confidential.

Q:  Do I need a presenting station?

A:  PBS encourages producers to consider working with an individual station.  A station can provide support in the areas of station relations, outreach, and fundraising. That said, it is not a requirement to work with a presenting station.

Q:  Does PBS review projects from international producers?

A:  Yes. All international submissions must be in English, dubbed in English, or contain English subtitles. Written proposals must also be in English.  We only accept NTSC DVDs.  Please provide an e-mail address for return correspondence.

Q:  Do I need to present a completed program or a rough cut for evaluation?  Do I need a treatment or a script?  Can I submit just a concept?

 A:  We look at programs and proposals in various stages of development, from treatment to completed program. Basic concepts alone are not sufficient for our team to make well-informed decisions.  For a list of other elements required of all submissions, please visit our Proposal Process page.

Q:  When can I meet with someone at PBS to explain my project?

A:  We receive nearly 2,000 proposals and programs each year and simply do not have the staff to meet with everyone who submits.  We encourage you to be detailed in your submission so that our evaluators can get a full sense of your concept and the quality of your work.

Q:  When producing for PBS, are there any standards, requirements, or policies (i.e., packaging, underwriting, technical, etc.) that I need to know?

A:  The PBS Red Book and PBS Production Guidelines information needed to ensure programs meet all of PBS's on-air standards, including information on packaging, underwriting, product offers, formats and delivery. It is not necessary that your submission meet these requirements for submission and initial review.