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Program Descriptions

by | Aug 5, 2020

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Program Descriptions

When delivering the master file, the Producer is expected to upload to the portal a brief description of the series and the episode that will be used for internal and external promotion of the program. 

      • 100 words or more long description
      • 250 character short description (including spaces)
      • Required in both English and local language (as instructed by Discovery EP/PMD) 
      • Must follow Discovery Content Metadata Requirements (attached above)

Program descriptions form the basis for all promotional & publicity materials. With program descriptions, we can write press releases. We can also get programs highlighted in monthly program guides like The Cable Guide and Satellite Direct, and in weekly publications including TV Guide and TV Week Sunday newspaper supplements. Good descriptions help us select programs listed in daily highlights in newspapers like USA Today and The Washington Post. Descriptions help us ensure the information is posted on and may be included in marketing brochures that are sent to cable affiliates around the country and to Discovery’s retail stores. With descriptions, we can compile compelling entries for award competitions. Without descriptions we cannot do any of this. Without descriptions, the program will not get extra attention. You, as the producer, are the closest to a program and are the best one to provide good descriptions.

  • Base the description on program content, objectively stated without hype or judgment.

Example: On a tip from a family of reindeer herders, an Arctic explorer discovers the remains of a fully formed mammoth buried within the frozen fields of the Siberian Arctic. Battling time and the elements, a team of scientists work to remove the 20,000 year old, almost intact relic from a lost world, and in the process write a new chapter in paleontology.

  • Assume the reader knows nothing about the program. Use full names, add titles if appropriate, write out names of places, and include dates.

Good: Director Steven Spielberg filmed Jurassic Park during 1995 in Los Angeles
Not Good: Spielberg shot his new film in LA

  • Crystallize the entire show and capture the program’s excitement without sounding like an advertisement or conveying personal opinion.

Good: Discover species Darwin only dreamed about on a deep-sea expedition to the Galapagos.
Not Good: This program takes the viewer to the island where Darwin formed his theories.

  • Be Specific & Check the facts

Good: unique Galapagos tortoise
Not Good: rare species of the world

  • Don’t waste words; Avoid restating concepts in the description

The reader will know the “Lions of Kalahari” is about lions in the Kalahari; tell them more.

  • Make descriptions as active as possible

Good: Discover the Kalahari
Not Good: We visit the Kalahari

  • Check for misspellings and avoid incorrect grammar

Spell out numbers under ten and at the beginning of the sentence; add a comma before and in any series; use quotations for a direct quote; do not use quotations when using a nicknames; avoid foreign spellings or phrases; check for misspellings.


Descriptions need to be uploaded to the Producer’s Portal for input into Discovery’s database with enough lead-time to use them in all possible applications. This usually means before the program is delivered—ideally 3 months before a program is scheduled to air. Descriptions delivered after that time will still be used, but will not be available for all potential applications.

  • Don’t use professional titles unless licensed at the time of production and premiere (e.g. “Dr.”)
  • Don’t reference other programs, particularly in a competitive context