EXCLUSIVE: Forget Baywatch, bring on Baewatch. Fremantle may have started discussing a reboot of the classic beach drama but in the meantime its UK production label Thames is putting its own spin on the title for its latest reality dating format.
Channel 4’s youth-skewing network E4 has commissioned eight-part series Baewatch (w/t) from the unscripted production company, which produces series including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, and Love Island co-producer Motion Content Group.
The show sees a group of beautiful young contestants test their relationships in a luxury beach setting. The twist? It’s their in-laws that are setting them a series of tasks and challenges.
Each self-contained episode sees the unknowing couple fly out to a luxury villa where they believe they are taking part in a gameshow where they will be challenged to prove how strong their relationship is. While taking part in the fictional series, every comment, every awkward PDA and every last squabble is being remotely monitored by their in-laws who will set entertaining challenges and questions in order to find out all they can about their beloved child’s partner.
As if that’s not tough enough, the series sees both sets of parents meet up to discuss their offspring’s relationship and their holiday antics before finally surprising the blissfully unaware couple face-to-face. The unsuspecting pair will discover just how much they’ve been watched as they view back the most cringeworthy moments of their holiday as one big happy family. With the chance for first impressions out the window, will the ‘baes’ impress their in-laws enough to be invited over for Sunday lunch? Or will they disappoint and be struck off the Christmas card list forever?
It is one of the first commissions for Karl Warner since moving from Sony-owned production company Electric Ray to head up E4 earlier this summer. The channel was also handed an additional $13.4M for its commissioning budget this summer with a “particular emphasis” on reality and factual entertainment originations.
Thames is overseen by Fremantle UK CEO Liam Humphreys and run by Thames Managing Director Amelia Brown. In addition to the ITV entertainment juggernauts, it produces dating format Take Me Out, with recently announced Top Gear host Paddy McGuiness and gameshows such as Family Fortunes and Blankety Blank.
Baewatch was commissioned by Vivienne Molokwu, Commissioning Editor, Formats and Features, Channel 4, with Amelia Brown, Phil Harris and Ben Stevens Executive Producers for Thames, Georgina Hinds, Series Producer for Thames and Martin Oxley, Executive Producer for Motion Content Group.
It comes after a rush of activity around the Baywatch property; earlier this year, Thames’ parent company Fremantle remastered all 242 episodes of the David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson-fronted series as part of an attempt to sell it to international broadcasters and streaming services.
Fremantle International COO Bob McCourt told Deadline that given the current trend of remaking shows from the 80s and 90s, a remake has also “definitely been discussed”.
Vivienne Molokwu, Commissioning Editor, Formats and Features Channel 4 said, “The series takes a humorous look at a relationship milestone almost everyone can relate to – meeting the parents but multiplies the awkwardness of that often dreaded moment by 100%.”
Phil Harris, Creative Director, Thames said, “We are so excited to bring this new dating show with a sunshine twist to E4. We decided to take the moment you meet your in-laws and explode it E4 style to create a truly funny, cringey and memorable show. We are going to see the Instagram generation completely unfiltered in front of the people they want to impress the most.”
Martin Oxley, Executive Producer, Motion Content Group added, “For some meeting the in-laws is the most stressful part of getting serious in love. The amazing team at Thames have found a unique way for families to interrogate the love in their off-spring’s lives, and the results of the hilarious secret tests will have viewers hiding behind their cushions and thanking their lucky stars it’s not them.”