How to Apply to Be on TV Shows

By Contributing Writer

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Television

  • Headshot

  • Photo mailer

  • Postage

  • Internet access

If you have ever watched television and thought about applying to be an actor, guest or game show participant, then you’ll likely need guidance through various steps to make your dream come true. Networks with shows such as "Numb3rs," "The Real World," "CSI" and "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" all require people to appear on their shows through the casting or audition process. You can be added to the pool of hopeful actors, models and average citizens that would like to be on TV by following several steps.

Decide the type of TV show where you would like to appear. Traditional scripted television is different from Reality TV and the guidelines for applying to be on either types of these shows differs.

Determine in what capacity you would like to appear on the show. If you would like to be a featured actor, day player, voiceover artist or a regular on the show, you may need to get an agent because higher-profile shows will only communicate with agents to cast people for a show. If you would like to appear on the show as a stand-in or background actor, a contestant on a game show or a featured character on a reality show, then this can be achieved without the aid of an agent; you can do this on your own.

Get a headshot. Mail your headshot directly to the network, production studio or casting director associated with the show on which you would like to appear. In an article written Oct. 5, 2009, Paul Russell, author, industry expert and adviser for stated, "Your headshot is an introduction and/or reminder to (production personnel) of who you are."

More precisely, a headshot is a clear, natural, focused, color, 8-by-10 photo taken of only yourself from the waist up that includes your name, contact information and relevant experience on the back.

Research the requirements for being on the type of show on which you would like to appear. Visit the website or call the network or production studio associated with the show.


Depending on your location, you may be able to visit casting directors and agents in person. This is a more effective way to apply to be on a television show.

There are casting sites that are hugely popular, legitimate and are used by industry personnel. These casting sites are highly informative, full of valuable resources and membership is available for a nominal monthly fee. See the links in Resources for several of those sites.