A FEW MORE WORDS ON TV SPECS
My agent friend Liz says:
Yes, 3-4 years is the lifespan, but with a great spec you can usually
squeeze out a bit more. It helps if the show is still on the air. A
brilliant X-files could last the entire run of the show, plus a few years
afterwards. This was because a) a brilliant spec means it's not tied too
closely into the particular arc of a particular season - instead it uses the
rules and characters as a launching pad of inspiration and b) successful
shows spawn copycats and have far reaching influence, so tonally an X-files
could be a great spec years after X-files was cancelled, simply because other
shows are trying to capture the X files vibe.
A great spec is a great spec. They might sit on the shelf, but they're solid
My questions are: (a) are there still shows with the same tone and structure but on the other hand (b) are people well and truly sick of reading specs based on that show.
Personally I also think that if all your specs are cancelled shows, it suggests that it takes you way too long to write a spec. Which suggests you're slow. Which is never good.