Raunchy British dating format Love Island dominated the global formats business in 2018, culminating in the news that the breakout reality series is being adapted in the U.S. by CBS.
Now that the ITV format is coupled up, U.S. broadcasters are looking elsewhere for their own sexy singleton series as well as international non-scripted formats that can shuffle through the clutter and make a dent in the golden age of drama.
Netflix made an audacious entrance into the formats space this year, causing a stir by picking up the U.S. and global rights to Studio Lambert’s Catfish-meets-Big Brother series The Circle (above) ahead of a number of traditional rivals. Linear networks have been warned that they will need to be quick to secure the rights to foreign shows that pop or else start to look towards territories that they may not have explored before.
ABC is cooking up a U.S. version of Australian food format Family Food Fight with Ayesha Curry, while producers are pitching a variety of feasts from unfamiliar markets; Keeping Up With The Kardashians indie Bunim/Murray and NFL star Russell Wilson are shopping remake rights to French celebrity adventure format L’Aventure Robinson, and The Late Late Show with James Corden co-producer Fulwell 73 and opera singer Plácido Domingo recently took the U.S. rights to Hungarian classical music format Virtuosos.
But what’s next? What are some of the global formats that buyers will be bidding for in 2019 that could make a dent on a U.S. network, or indeed, streaming service.
The dating format is an evergreen genre that continues to rate for broadcasters around the world. Matchmakers, a Belgian format, is the latest project that is starting to get global networks hot under the collar. The show follows a group of single people who are unsuspectingly set up on dates by their friends, who are secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes. Matchmakers was initially produced as a six-part run by Roses are Blue for SBS Belgium’s Vier network and is distributed by Electus International. The company has closed a raft of international remake deals with broadcasters including ProSiebenSat.1 in Germany, which air its adaptation next year, as well as producers including Banijay in Italy, Denmark and Italy and Lagardere Studios-backed Reservoir in France. Deadline can also reveal that the format is in development with The CW in the U.S., where the youth-skewing network is hoping that it can become one of its small number of non-scripted hits.
Iron Couple (Poland)
Imagine a cross between I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here-meets-Better Late Than Never. Iron Couple is an entertainment travel format that features a famous couple taking on an unpredictable and unforgettable challenge that will put their relationship to the test. The original ten-part series was produced by Polish producer for Discovery-owned commercial broadcaster TVN. It was a ratings hit locally and has been picked up internationally by Small World IFT, the Kew Media-backed formats specialist, which has been responsible for NBC adapting Grandpas Over Flowers as Better Late Than Never and recently sold Romanian gameshow Win Your Country to Whoopi Goldberg and Red Arrow-backed Wahlburgers producer 44 Blue Productions. Small World founder Tim Crescenti told Deadline that Iron Couple is its first format from Poland. “We found the Polish format only because I was in the office in Warsaw of our Better Late Than Never adaptation producers there. This is why I travel so much, boots on the ground is so important,” he said. Elsewhere, the company, which has a development deal with NBC, secured the rights to long-running Spanish format Freewheelin’. The show, which has run for four seasons and is produced by Endor Media for Telemadrid, follows two comedians on a bike ride through history. The format follows sports stars, musicians and celebrities as they cycle through a region looking at its past as well as taking part in games and sketches.
Boss Lady (Turkey)
Imagine Undercover Boss or The Apprentice in a female dominated world. Boss Lady is a factual entertainment format that sees women, with little or no experience, take over their husband’s financially distressed businesses to try and turn them around. The women compete with each other to make the highest operating profit margin each week with the contestant with the lowest operating margin at the end of the week getting eliminated. At the end of the final week, the contestant with the highest operating profit margin becomes the winner and takes home cash prize. The format is fronted by three successful and well-known entrepreneurs, two women and one man, who coach the contestants throughout the competition. It is produced by Sera Film Services from Turkey, a market not known for exporting formats. The format has already started to pick up interest from producers in the U.S.
Asia has always been a hotbed of weird and wonderful formats that are successfully adapted internationally such as Fox’s forthcoming talent competition The Masked Singer. Next up? Serenade, a Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired reality competition format. The studio-based show follows a group of fans trying to win the hearts of their celebrity crush. Six contestants compete to perform a variety of song, dance and poetry routines to ensure that they receive a rose from their crush, who is situated below the balcony, rather than a bucket of water. Three contestants make it through to the next round before a final love match, where they must answer questions on the celebrity’s interests. The winner scores a meal with their crush. Serenade was created by Malaysian producer phoSumpro, whose founders Mai Fernandez and Yin Tan saw the potential of the format when they ran a serenading task in one of their reality shows and it went viral. It will be distributed by All3Media International after winning the Formats Pitch at the recent Asia Television Forum, beating shows including cooking competition $10 to Chef and zombie survival competition Battle of the Dead.
Travel With A Goat (Netherlands)
Europeans love a travelogue; celebrities traversing new territories air across linear schedules across the continent, particularly in the UK. However, in this case, the celebrity is exchanged for livestock. Travel with a Goat, which got early buzz at the Mipcom market in October, follows two social influencers who spend a couple of days with an animal, they will travel through the jungle, savannah, or through an urban setting, taking the animal by the leash. They must reach a finish line within three days, when they are offered a daunting dilemma: will they offer the animal to the local population or will they choose to let the animal live and disappoint the locals? The show looks at the consumption of meat and the livestock industry. Produced by Dutch indie Tuvalu Media for Insight TV, the 4K UHD broadcaster, the show launched earlier this year and has been ordered for ten episodes. It is picking up steam internationally with a number of global producers and broadcasters eyeing local versions. Tuvalu Media MD Emiel Neervoort told Deadline that the format is “loud” and “provocative”. “The interesting thing is that this show explains so well the transition of a live animal to meat and what this does to people who truly realise this for the first time,” he added. “We are in talks with different producers, platforms and broadcasters to roll out local versions, and perhaps also in US and UK.”
Mission Ignition (UK)
The global success of Top Gear and The Grand Tour has broadcasters around the world racing off in pursuit of the next hot motoring project. It could well be Mission Ignition, a British car competition format fronted by Dario Franchitti (left), a three-time winner of the Indy500, and Take That star Howard Donald. The show sees two teams of amateur enthusiasts rebuild classic cars with two cars being turned in to a giant jigsaw puzzle in each episode. Ashley Judd’s ex-husband Franchitti and Donald oversee a team battling it out to put their car back together with the first team to rebuild it and start their engine getting to keep it. It is expected to air on UK’s Channel 4 in the first quarter of 2019. The show is produced by East Media, the production company set up by former Objective Media and The Cube producer Nathan Eastwood. Eastwood, who previously ran a Pulse Films-backed banner, said that the show is packed with “genuine edge of the seat tension” and a “dream prize”. He told Deadline that there are a number of exciting international developments in the pipeline, particularly in the U.S., where a number of A-list stars and producers are understood to be circling the remake rights.
Make Your Country Great Again (Belgium)
MAGA TV? Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, looks to be the inspiration for a new factual entertainment format. The twist? It comes from Belgium. The show follows a team of young TV makers on a secret mission to help their own country. They must solve a personal mission, a society mission and a community mission such as tackling food waste or plastic consumption as well as smaller, fun missions. The show was produced in a seven-part run by FC Panache for Belgian broadcaster VTM and it has been recommissioned for a second season. Distributed by Be Entertainment, the format picked up a lot of attention after Mipcom and has already been picked up by Dutch broadcaster NPO for a local remake.
Mums Make Porn (UK)
Porn has gone mainstream, particularly with the prevalence of a certain Stormy Daniels in the news. British producer Firecracker Films is to explore this phenomenon in three-part series Mums Make Porn that will see a group of ordinary mothers of teenage children research the world of modern pornography and then produce their own film. The parents will write, cast, direct and edit their mum-approved pornographic film in the show, which will air on Channel 4. ICM, which reps Firecracker is expected to shop a U.S. remake in the new year after the Tinopolis-backed producer delivers some tape. Similarly for Channel 4, Firecracker is making Postcode Playdates, a factual entertainment format that will see families with children from the same neighbourhood but across cultural, ethnic and economic divides open their doors to their neighbours’ offspring for a playdate for the very first time. Firecracker chief creative officer Jes Wilkins said that the format “explores big questions about the social divides that dominate the news agenda in such a playful, accessible and very entertaining way for a family audience”.
Beat Your Teenager (Denmark)
Parents often struggle to communicate with their children and video games are usually to blame. Now, a group of five parents are going to try and bridge the generation gap by getting on the console. In three months, the parents, assisted by professional eSport experts are going to learn to play Counter Strike so that they can beat their teenagers in the grand finale. Produced for TV2 Denmark, Beat Your Teenager is being distributed internationally by Missing Link Media, the Scandinavian formats specialists run by former Zodiak and Nordic World exec Jan Salling.
Operation Live (UK)
ITV-owned producer The Garden is behind some of the UK’s longest running factual entertainment formats from 24 Hours In A&E to 24 Hours In Police Custody. One of its latest projects is Operation Live, a three-part, two-hour special for Viacom’s Channel 5 that sees a life-changing surgery aired live. The show followed three operations, an aortic valve replacement, a total knee replacement, and a right hemicolectomy, giving viewers the chance to see what happens in theaters across the NHS every day. Given the success of shows such as Live PD on A&E, the producers are hopeful of performing surgery in the States. The company, which is run by CEO Magnus Temple, Chief Creative Officer John Hay and MD Nicola Hill, is also eyeing international versions of its Spying On My Family format. The show, which debuted as a one-off on Channel in September, puts cameras into a family home so each member can see into every corner of their lives. They will also be able to see every social media post and text message through the use of special technology.