Viacom-owned British broadcaster Channel 5 is heading back to the farm – fourteen years after airing controversial reality series The Farm – the format best known for featuring David Beckham’s former assistant Rebecca Loos “collecting semen” from a pig.
The commercial broadcaster has ordered Celebs On The Farm, a ten-part series from Goowoo Media, the production company run by former Channel 5 programming chief Richard Woolfe.
The show will see ten celebrities “swap their high heels for their Hunter wellies” and their “waist coats for their waterproofs” as they face the challenges of becoming a farmer. The competition format will air later this year on digital network 5Star.
It sounds remarkably similar to The Farm, which was previously produced by Endemol UK for Channel 5 back in 2004. That show featured a group of celebrities, which also included rapper Vanilla Ice, magician Paul Daniels and It Girl Lady Victoria Hervey, living together on a farm and challenged to do typical agriculture and animal rearing. One celebrity was evicted each week. Producers on the show included Sean Hancock, who is now a non-scripted commissioner at Netflix and Alex Dundas, who went on to run the UK division of Mark Burnett’s former production company One Three Media.
The Farm initially began life as a Swedish format, produced by Strix for TV4 in Sweden, and is distributed by Modern Times Group’s DRG. It has aired in more than 50 territories, and is still on in certain markets including Norway and Brazil.
However, Channel 5 says that this new show is more positive and will highlight characteristics of the best farmers – patience, passion, resilience, adaptability and hard work.
In addition to the farm’s manure, I smell some potential legal issues brewing between Channel 5 and MTG.