John de Mol’s Talpa Media is bringing to the U.S. another reality series after a successful initial run in his native the Netherlands. The Big Picture, which will be taken out shortly by Talpa Media USA, is an interactive studio-based game show. In the 12-round trivia contest, a player has to identify a succession of pictures that appear on a large screen, with the cash prize going up to $1 million for the 12th photo. Viewers at home will be able to play along in real time via app, which allows for up to three of them to share a portion of the in-studio contestants’ winnings in each hourlong episode. There is a scenario where a viewer at home could win $1 million.
Since he launched Talpa a decade ago, Big Brother creator de Mol has brought two reality formats to the U.S. after successful debuts in Holland, singing competition The Voice, which had aired on RTL4 locally, and social experiment Utopia, which had been carried by the smaller, Talpa-co-owned channel SBS 6. The Voice has been a hit for NBC, while Fox’s Utopia adaptation did not work.
Like The Voice, The Big Picture airs on RTL4 where it is wrapping its 6-episode first season and already has been renewed for a second cycle. The four episodes to date have drawn over 1 million viewers each, up more than +100% from the time slot average. Talpa acquired the format for The Big Picture from Israeli company A-Cappella at the MIP TV market last year. (watch A-Capella’s promo below) De Mol and his team made some tweaks before setting up the series at RTL4. The modified format is expected to be pitched in multiple territories once the series concludes its first season in Holland.
Last summer, ABC tried an interactive competition series with another format originally from Israel that involved the use of an app, Rising Star, which didn’t catch on, in part because it was hard to make the interactivity fully functional for the multiple time zones in the U.S. According to Talpa Media USA CEO Jay Bienstock, The Big Picture has solved that problem, and its app will allow full participation in every time zone.
While Rising Star misfired, ABC boss Paul Lee last summer talked up the interactive game show format, expressing confidence about its future on TV.
The Big Picture sales efforts are not affected by the ongoing acquisition talks between ITV and Talpa Media as de Mol is expected to stay on for at least several years if a deal closes.