Bits and Bytes: Clock, What Clock and What Does My Script Have To Do With a Clock?

If you are about to write for a TV network, the first question you should ask is, “May I please have a copy of your clock?” What’s a clock? It is the blueprint of the show’s on-air timing the editors use as their guide when cutting to fit network deliverables. So why do you need to know if all you’re doing is writing? Because those timings/breaks will have to be included in your script and it is not a good idea to draw outside of those lines. Why? Because following the proper format is going to make your bosses very happy! Don’t try to write out of the box. Creativity with constraints is the order of the day. The illustration below (my client redacted) is for a 1/2 hour network show. Remember, each show may be different, so always ask before you deliver!

Sample network clock for a 30-minute format.