We commonly get inquires from individuals that want us to draft a reality show producer agreement. If you’ve created a reality show and have been approached by a producer; production company; network; or other financing entity, which wants to produce your show, you will be offered a “deal” to give the producer; production company; network; financing entity to sell them all or certain rights to your reality show. The “deal” will most likely be in the form of an option/purchase agreement or an outright purchase agreement, commonly called a reality show producer agreement. It is crucial that you immediately contact an experienced entertainment attorney to review this “deal” and to negotiate the agreement for you.
In any negotiation, each side is going to try as get as much as they can for as little as they can. The producer; production company; network or other financing entity that is seeking to make a deal with you is going to try to buy as many rights as they can (examples: television rights; internet rights; other rights) for the smallest payment possible. You have to be careful – if this is your first show, you are going to be so excited at the prospect of “being in the business” and having a reality show on television (and showing your friends and family that you weren’t so crazy after all for pursuing your dream) you may be tempted to sign the bottom line no matter what is above. That is why you need an experienced entertainment attorney to guide you through this process and you’ll have someone who will be looking out for you to draft your reality show producer agreement.
The main deal points in a reality show producer agreement (along with many more) will be whether the deal will be for an outright purchase (for a certain sum – for the rights negotiated) or an option/purchase, where the producer; production company; network or other financing entity will either give you an amount of money or promise their “best efforts” to “set-up” your show in return for the right to purchase for a certain sum the rights negotiated at the end of the option period (example: a year).
The negotiation for your reality show producer agreement, in which you should be represented by an experienced entertainment attorney, will be over whether the deal will be for an option/purchase or outright purchase; what rights will be sold; and the purchase price. Your experienced entertainment attorney should make sure that you get the highest purchase price possible for the least amount of rights given up. Your purchase price, at a minimum, should include a fixed amount of money; some type of gross deal for profits; royalties for each new episode; and a job for you on the reality show such as producer or executive producer for both fixed compensation and contingent compensation (percentage of the gross profits).
These are just the absolute basics of a reality show creator agreement. Again, it is crucial that you hire an experienced entertainment attorney to represent you to make sure that you get the best deal possible. Remember – protect yourself – no matter how strong the temptation is – make sure an experienced entertainment attorney is protecting you – before you sign anything. Contact Attorney Richard Freiman at Freiman Law at (818) 378-3530 or via the form on the right for a free consultation regarding your reality show producer agreement.