(Final Update August 28, 2020) - TheTVDB Bible: Guidelines, Policies, & Procedures

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This forum is now read-only. Support for TheTVDB.com is now available at https://support.thetvdb.com/ We also have a Knowledgebase which includes site rules and tips at https://support.thetvdb.com/kb/
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:31 pm

Sources of Truth for TV

Preferred Sources
  • Official Websites — The official listing for a series in its country of origin. Usually manifests itself as a page on a series' original network's website. Unless the listing is a mess (i.e. Discovery, other Scripps networks — see below) or conflicts with an existing site rule (i.e. splitting of multipart episodes in animated series or discrepancies with the aired ordering), the official listing will be considered gospel.
    • Scripps Networks exception: as mentioned above, Scripps networks are notoriously bad at keeping their episodes in the order in which they are aired — mainly since they often will air episodes in a different order than they were produced. And to make things more confusing, Scripps networks often have two sites — the main network site (foodnetwork.com) and the "watch" site, where you can actually view episodes (watch.foodnetwork.com). To alleviate issues with the numbering of such Scripps series, we are going to begin using the watch.network listing as a Source of Truth for Scripps series from the following networks:
      • Cooking Channel
      • DIY Network
      • Food Network
      • Great American Country
      • HGTV
      • Travel Channel
      • Asian Food Channel
      • Fine Living (Europe)
      • Fine Living (Italy) (defunct)
      • TVN Group
    • In the event neither site honors the aired order, that air date will still take precedent.
  • BBC iPlayer
  • BBC Genome
  • StudioSystem
  • Gracenote
  • BFI.org.uk — British Film Institute database is particularly good for British/UK shows. There is little addition of "current" shows but the archive is usually good.
  • Interbridge — This one’s good for talk shows. As a note: reruns are not original episodes, so look out for these — they should not be entered into the system as new episodes.
  • AnimeNewsNetwork — When it comes to anime info, this site is generally your best bet. The listings are almost always complete and very accurate, even for the most obscure or old titles.
  • MyAnimeList — Second only to ANN, MAL features some of the most up-to-date and accurate anime info.
Acceptable Sources

Please reference two acceptable sources of truth to back up your change request.
  • TheFutonCritic — This is fairly accurate, but please double-check their data against another source as they often will not update older data.
  • IMDb — A great database for movie info, but can be lacklustre when it comes to television series.
  • aniDB — An acceptable but often incomplete anime source. Series often lack season info and listings include non-episodes such as OP, ED, DVD extras, etc. A decent supplementary source for episode titles or release dates, but not much else.
  • Shobo Calendar — a community driven anime calendar that is also very up to date.
Last Resorts
  • Fan Sites – In rare cases, if you can show us that either no other approved source exists or that said sources are completely inaccurate or incomplete, we will consider the use of fan sites for listings. In these cases, you must link us to any incomplete/inaccurate trusted sources as well as the fan site source you intend to have us review along with any further information you have on the topic. At this point, the decision will require the complete agreement of at least two moderators or one administrator. And said decision will be final.
  • TV.com – While generally accurate to a degree, TV.com is often missing required details such as airdates to back up their listings which limits reliability. Good for comparison to other listings and often to fill in blanks, but a preferred source it is not.
  • TVGuide — TVGuide sources their data from the same place as TV.com, so again, take their info with a grain of salt.
  • Wikis/Wikipedia – Generally the same requirements as with the above-mentioned fan sites, however, to stress this further — this is to be an absolutely last resort request. Do not link us to Wikipedia or any other Wiki if a trusted and seemingly valid source exists. In fact, consider Wikis to be even a rank below fan sites.
Notes on Sources of Truth
  • Online VOD storefronts such as Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Playstation Store, etc. are not a valid source for series info. This is unless, of course, they actually are the "network" of origin, which is becoming more common but does not replace the original airing network/country rules previously established.
  • If we have a listing that is based on an official site, and that site becomes defunct, we will not simply change said listing based on the insistence of members who have not seen said website. Classic series will continue to be listed as they were, when these sites were available.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:34 pm

How to Add a TV Series

Adding & Editing a Series
Adding & Editing a Season
Adding & Editing an Episode

CO-PRODUCTIONS — In the event that two or more networks are associated with the production of the same series — i.e. Chernobyl (HBO & Sky 1); His Dark Materials (HBO & BBC One) — the rule will be that we will list the network with the first air date to be the network of record, or Original Network. So, in the His Dark Materials example, the UK (BBC One) has a premiere date of Nov. 3, and the US (HBO) has an air date of Nov. 4. So, BBC One would be the Original Network.

Beyond the initial season the Original Network will be used for the air-dates of any subsequent season. Regardless of which production partner airs those seasons first.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN — In most cases, the Country of Origin for a series should be the country that the network is headquartered in (e.g. a series originally broadcast on Channel 4 would have a country of Great Britain). But with the rise of global streaming networks, this isn't always the case. For example, take the series DARK. It's a German series, but Netflix (headquartered in the US) is the Original Network. In cases like these, we should take a common-sense approach and list the Country of Origin for dark as Germany. If you're unsure of what you should list as the Country of Origin for a series, please use the Series Change Requests forum to ask a mod.

PREMIERE TIMES – In an effort to standardize premiere dates, we would like to start using the US EST premiere date time on all US series and for all other non-US series, the time of the show’s country capital or most populous city. With the introduction of streaming services that drop all of their episodes at once, we've seen differing release times for each of them. The official list is below:
  • Netflix — 3 a.m.
  • Disney+ — 3 a.m.
  • CBS All Access — 3 a.m.
  • Hulu — 12 a.m.
  • Apple TV+ — 12 a.m.
  • HBO Max — 12 a.m.
  • Amazon Prime — this one has proved to be tricky, since Amazon releases their episodes at 12 a.m. GMT (which is 8 p.m. EST, the day before). For now, we are going to keep the original air date/day as it is in GMT when the series are released, and we'll keep the air time as 12 a.m.
At times, a network might release an episode or multiple episodes of a series as a "sneak peek" on their website or app before the episode's official air date on the actual network. In these cases, it is our policy to list the air date of when the episode was first aired on the broadcaster's main network. Also, the episode should be attributed to the Network that it's originally airing on — not the app or website.

RUNTIME — In general, the runtime of an episode should be the approximate total runtime of the episode, not including commercials. For example, when looking at a series on cable or network television, the approximate runtime for a many episodes with an hour-long time slot is about 42 minutes, while half-hour episodes normally have a runtime of around 22 minutes. Of course, many streaming services don't have commercials, so the runtime there will be more straightforward. Our runtimes should now be entered as integers, and rounded to the closest minute — so, if an episode is 42:08 for example, round that down to 42. But with a 42:44 runtime, that will round up to 43.

PLACEHOLDERS FOR EPISODE DROPS – We have decided to relax the policy of allowing for placeholders on series that drop all at once (i.e. streaming series). For now, please use TBA or “Episode #” for the placeholder. That being said, users must produce documentation of the season order from a reputable source.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:35 pm

Editing existing content

Often, you’ll find content that already exists on TheTVDB that may need to be updated, edited, or in very rare cases, removed from the site.

Editing unlocked content

A good portion of TV content on TheTVDB is unlocked, which means that any user can add, edit, or change any info associated with the series.

If you feel any unlocked series, season, episode, or any other information needs editing, we urge you to search the forums first before making the edits. There’s a very good chance someone else has thought of making the same edits before, which means there’s likely an Admin/Mod response to the edits already in the forums. Failure to do this may make an admin “lock” a series, to prevent fighting over changes.

Under no circumstances should you blank out episodes you feel need deleting. Users work hard to enter information into the database, and deleting episodes will negate their efforts.

Requesting an edit to locked content (using the forums)

At times, you’ll come across a TV series, season, episode, or movie that has been locked. This can only be done by an Administrator or Moderator, and it almost always has been done for a very good reason and it is for the protection of the content.

Some reasons that come to mind are:
  • Users are constantly incorrectly editing the data
  • Users are fighting over edits & overwriting others
  • The data is being reviewed to make sure it is correct
  • The series has been Certified by an administrator/mod
  • The data should not be listed on TheTVDB
  • The entry is a duplicate of an already existing entry
  • Vandalism has occurred
If you don’t find anything in the forums regarding your specific issue, post a topic in the appropriate forum: Be sure you are clear and concise on what you're looking to achieve. Your forum post MUST include the following:
  • The URL of the content in question on TheTVDB.com
  • Valid Sources of Truth
Here is a great example of what an edit request should look like:

Subject: S05 Our School - Move to Specials

Hi there,

Please move the episodes in S05 of Our School to be Specials. These were indexed on iPlayer as S05 episodes when released but now there are new weekly episodes that are indexed as S05 also. The episode names have been updated to reflect they are 'Summer Camp' specials.

Season 5 - https://www.thetvdb.com/series/our-school/seasons/5
iPlayer Source - https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/ ... our-school

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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:36 pm


If a series/season/episode is locked and you need to translate it, please create a thread for it with the info you need to be added. We will probably not unlock it unless it's an incredibly massive undertaking as far as the number of episodes is concerned.

Please copy and paste this format (subject & body) for submitting translation requests:

Subject: [LANGUAGE] Series Name - Season #

Code: Select all

Here’s an example of a well-formatted request for the show Superstore:

Each Season should have its own Post in the thread. Specials should be listed as their own season as well.

Of course, with each request you should also include a link to the series/season in the TVDB & the series ID just like all other posts here. This is especially important with translation requests due to the language ID.

Example of a series link with language ID:

Example of a season link with language ID:
http://thetvdb.com/?tab=season&seriesid ... 312&lid=11

If you’re translating a full season or a large chunk of episodes in one season, no need to include a link to every episode — the link to the season will do. We do ask that you please list the episodes you’re translating in aired order.

Other guidelines:
  • All translations should be in your own words.
  • Series and movie title translations should be what the series or movie is best known as in the countries where this language is spoken, and NOT the direct translation. For example, Game of Thrones is known as Game of Thrones in French as well, so the French translation should be Game of Thrones rather than Le Trône de Fer.
  • In your overviews, please do not include any unusual formatting — things like line breaks after every sentence, html/bb code, urls, unnecessary capitalization, etc. are not accepted.
  • As a note, there will be a four space indent before all overview text due to copy paste issues with the code/quote box — this is a known issue.
  • Series that are currently under major reworking or in the process of being disputed over ordering, number of episodes, seasons, etc; may not get translated for some time. If you're unsure about the status of one of these series’, please feel free to ask here and one of us will let you know if it's worth your time to lay out translations.
  • After a translation request has been fulfilled the thread will be moved to Completed requests, which means they most likely won’t be looked at again, and we will not continue to use them to import translation information. Instead, feel free to make a new thread right here where we can see it.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:40 pm


What is a movie?

A movie is a program that exists as a single entry and does not have multiple episodes or seasons.

A movie usually will fall into at least one of the below criteria:
  • Received a theatrical release
  • In the U.S., has an MPAA rating instead of an FTC one
  • Examples of "movies" include the following:
    • HBO Films (Fahrenheit 451, Behind the Candelabra, The Normal Heart, etc.)
    • Lifetime movies of the week (Flint, Death of a Vegas Showgirl, 15 and Pregnant, etc.)
    • Hallmark Movies (Home by Spring, The Beach House)
    • Netflix SVOD releases (Triple Frontier, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Roma, Wine Country)
    • Single stand-alone documentaries (Minding the Gap, Fyre Festival)
    • Holiday movies that aren't attached to a show (Freeform's “25 Days of Christmas“ movies)
    • Single stand-alone comedy stand-ups (Nanette, Amy Schumer: Growing, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady). However, Comedy Central Roasts are considered a TV series as it has multiple episodes.
    • Additionally, we will allow for stand-alone taped concerts.
For now, award shows like the Academy Awards we will continue to treat as series until we can find a better home for them. Also, please refrain from deleting the stand-alone BBC Documentary, ITV Docs, and Hallmark entries in the TV system until users can start populating them on the movie side.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:41 pm

Adding a Movie

You’ll find the movie pages to be pretty straightforward and similar to our TV show pages for now, but we will add more to them throughout the year.

When adding movies, please use exact names (i.e. Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond). With our new search, there should be no need to append the year to a movie. For TV, we will continue to keep it consistent with years appended to their series, given all of the reboots. At some point we will begin phasing out the year for series as well, but based on how many sites and apps rely on it, we feel it is best to leave it as is for now.

Metadata fields in the first version will include:
  • Logline – should be no longer than a sentence or two
  • Overview – can be longer than logline, but please keep it concise
  • Runtime
  • Status
  • Production Budget
  • Worldwide Box Office
  • Ratings — We have both MPAA ratings, as well as TV parental guidelines for movies, since many made-for-TV movies and Netflix films use the US parental guidelines system.
  • Release Date
  • Studio – we only have 1 studio dropdown for now, please pick the lead studio. If a movie is not attached to a specific studio, please select "No Studio" instead of leaving the field blank.
  • Genre
  • External Links
  • Spoken Language native to film
  • Production Countries
  • Trailers
  • Artwork
  • Talent – Directors, Writers, and actors are editable in the cast and crew area of movie pages. Please make sure you “sort” actors as dictated by importance.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:43 pm

Sources of Truth for Movies

We are open to more “sources of truth” to validate movie data, but would also like to hear from you if you feel a source is highly reputable. Users should also be encouraged to provide supporting links to any of the major trades.

Preferred Sources:
Acceptable Supporting Documentation:
Editing a Movie

Similar to TV content on the site, you’ll sometimes come across a movie entry with information that needs to be updated or changed. You can proceed with the same process as listed above in TV for any changes that need to be made.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:45 pm

Adding Cast & Crew


Currently, you’re able to add all sorts of talent to a TV series — Actors, Guest Stars, Writers, Directors, Showrunners, Creators, etc.

To add an Actor to a series, click on the “Add Actor” button in the right hand menu. Search for the actor you’d like to add and select them. Enter the name of the character they portray, the gender of their character (if known), the character's main occupation (if known), and upload an image of the actor in character. If you don’t have an image of the actor in character, leave blank — it will automatically populate the person's generic headshot. Only actors who are series regulars should be added this way. All other recurring characters should be added as guest stars at the episode level.

If you can’t find the person you're looking to add, you can add them by using the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the site — just select Add Person. Be sure to check for all variations/languages of a person's name before creating a new person record. If you find two or more people that you think need to be merged into one record, please post that in the forums and we can take care of it.

When creating a new person record, you’ll want to add an image of them in real life, out of character. Follow the image guidelines below for specific guidelines on adding a person image.

Even if you’re creating an episode of a late night or talk show where the episode title is the name of an actor or actors appearing on the episode, you’ll still need to add the actor(s) as a guest star for that episode in order to have them listed.

In some seasonal anthology series (e.g. American Horror Story), the same actor plays a different character each season. In this case, until we are able to handle actors with more granularity, you should add the same actor multiple times, one entry for each character they play. You MAY add the season number to the ROLE field in parentheses after the character's name in order to identify which season the character is from.


To add cast or crew members to a movie, click on the “Add Actor” button in the right hand menu. Select the type of talent you’re adding from the dropdown menu — Director, Writer, Actor, Crew, & Producer all apply to movies.

Search for the talent you want to add, and select them. If it’s an actor, enter the name of the role they portray and upload an image of the actor in character. If you don’t have an image of the actor in character, leave blank — it will automatically populate the person's generic headshot.

If you can’t find them, use the drop down menu in the upper right and select “Add Person.” Search for the talent again just to double check that they don’t exist. If they truly don’t, then select “Person Not Found” and add them.

When creating a new person, you’ll want to add an image of them in real life, out of character. Follow the image guidelines below for specific guidelines on adding an actor image.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:50 pm

Artwork Instructions

As a general note, any uploaded image must be free of spoilers, nudity, or vulgarity. Please ensure images are of high quality with no watermarks or unrelated logos, and that they don't appear stretched. Watermarks include things like URLs, twitter handles, artist names, etc.

Images should not be scaled to get to the correct resolution or to fit the required aspect ratio. If they are too big they should be cropped, if they are too small they either shouldn't be used or should be used to make composites. Badly resized images will be deleted.

Posters, Panels, Textual Banners, and Icons (so, artwork that includes text or writing), should always be tagged with the language they're in. You can select a language from the drop-down menu when uploading a piece of art.

  • Dimensions: 680x1000 pixels
  • Format: JPG
  • Maximum size: 800kb
  • Guidelines:
    • Posters can be used in coverflow applications and in social media applications
    • Series & movie posters should include the series/movie name
    • For season posters, do not upload variations of the same image. The image must exactly match one of our season image formats.
  • Dimensions: 1920x1080 pixels
  • Format: JPG
  • Maximum size: 800kb
  • Guidelines:
    • We'd prefer if backgrounds did not include any text, logos, or writing. If a 16:9 image does include an official series/movie logo, it should be added as a Panel.
    • Do not include borders in the images, or take a poster and just add a solid background to it to make it into a background. Your image should take up the full image space.
    • Do not include any masks, they can be applied automatically, don't assume you know where the menus will go. Different skins and programs use the images in different ways.
    • Each background should be unique. Please don't upload the same background many times with minor differences such as slightly different zoom, angles, poses, different color letters or a minor extra image pasted over top, etc.
    • Make sure you are uploading the image to the correct show/movie. Some titles do have duplicate or similar names and mistakes do happen, so double-check before you upload.
    • If you have a 1920x1080 image that includes the official series/movie logo, it should instead be listed as a Panel (see below).
  • Dimensions: 1920x1080 pixels
  • Format: JPG
  • Maximum size: 800kb
  • Guidelines:
    • Panels are 16x9 format images that must include the official series/movie logo. That allows them to be used in lieu of background+series title.
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Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:52 pm

  • Dimensions: 758x140 pixels
  • Format: JPG
  • Maximum size: 100kb
  • Guidelines:
    • Graphical Banners — These are defined as having a graphical/logo version of the series or movie name.

    • Text Banners generally use Arial Bold font, 27pt as the text.

    • Blank Banners — The main requirement for blank banners is they should be blank on the left side of the banner as that is where the auto-generated text will be placed. Similar to this:

Having banners really makes your HTPC software great. We here at TheTVDB.com understand this and encourage everyone to make each series/movie their own.

Please, upload your custom banners for every series/movie you own, but make sure you're being smart about it. Do not upload images that are blurry, pixelated and/or generally poor quality. Also, do not upload images that contain nudity, including animated nudity.

On a side note: Most HTPC software allows you to customize images using pictures on your PC, so if you want to view that material, please refer to you HTPC software manual/wiki.

  • Dimensions: 1024x1024 pixels
  • Format: PNG
  • Maximum size: 800kb
  • Guidelines:
    • Icons are square format, optionally transparent PNG files.