Spelling Star is a format that originated with Endemol Shine Australia as The Great Australian Spelling Bee and was a buzz title during the just-closed MipTV market in Cannes. Sky1 has announced a commission for an eight-part UK version to debut on the channel later this year.
Produced by Endemol Shine Group’s Remarkable Television, the competition show sees 20 children from the ages of nine to 13 go head-to-head and word-to-word in a spelling showdown. Unlike a traditional spelling bee, the series has the children compete in a range of challenges and games based around spelling, words and meanings. The show will also delve into the stories of the contestants and their parents. It culminates with the crowning of the UK’s Champion Speller.
In Oz, Spelling Bee was a big hit for Network Ten which has just ordered a second season (see trailer below). The format was originally launched at Mipcom in 2015 and was among ESG’s big hits at Mip this week. The group has found great success with the likes of MasterChef Junior as kids become an increasing draw in the unscripted space. At the outset of Mip on Monday, Warner Bros International Television Production made two key deals on its primetime entertainment format that puts kids front-and-center. ITV picked up Little Big Shots straight to series and Mediaset took the Spanish option.
Richard Ackerman is the commissioning editor on Spelling Star for Sky; exec producers are James Fox and Richard Hague at Remarkable Television.