Twofour Scores Bumper Order For Social Experiment ‘Undercover Girlfriends’ As Backer ITV Touts Formats Globally


ITV-backed production company Twofour has scored a bumper two season order for its Channel 5 social experiment Undercover Girlfriends as parent company ITV Studios touted its non-scripted formats to international buyers.

The British producer is also planning to launch an international production hub for the series. The news emerged at ITV Studios Formats Festival, which was held in London for over 200 international buyers and commissioners.

Melanie Leach and Andrew Mackenzie, who run Twofour, revealed that C5 has ordered seasons two and three of Undercover Girlfriends, which follows five girls as they spy on their boyfriends’ holiday. Stripped across one week, the boys are whisked away on a VIP trip to sun-soaked Marbella under the impression they are filming a TV show about being on a mates’ holiday. What they don’t know is that their girlfriends are in the villa right next door watching their every move.

The show, which is co-produced with Krempelwood Entertainment, was a hit for C5 when it launched last year. It premiered 50% up on slot average and was particularly popular young audiences and female viewers.

Mike Beale, MD Nordics & Global Creative Network, ITV Studios, joked that ITV, which also makes and sells Love Island, was “not entering the villa business”.

Channel 5 is also going under the knife with a second season of Operation Live. The show, which is produced by 24 Hours In A&E producer The Garden aired a three-part, two-hour special that sees a life-changing surgery aired live last year. It is now making more episodes to TX in the next few months. The producers are hopeful of performing surgery in the States and have been pitching the format.

Elsewhere, ITV-owned Talpa, run by John De Mol, debuted a slew of new shows including DanceSing and The Desert.

DanceSing is a talent show for all-round superstars. It seeks out talents who can both sing and dance at the highest level and talents must crush both auditions to advance to the hardest bootcamp ever seen on TV, where they will be living under one roof to remain in this knock-out competition. The show launched on De Mol-backed SBS6.

The Desert is a competition format set in Saudi Arabia; the show, which airs on SBC, takes two teams who compete to make the desert their home. After 100 days, two finalists will then compete on a solitary race through the desert.

The ITV Studios slate also included physical gameshow Catchpoint, which is produced by Possessed and 12 Yard, and The Chase-esque budget quiz Switch.

“From Operation Live, which brings a whole new level of access to surgeons and the operating table, to The Chamber, a unique new physical game show filmed underground, our new spring slate includes exciting new shows tackling their genres in innovative new ways,” added Beale. “Our Formats Festival enables us to get a head start with buyers on our new shows launching across the year, while also reminding them of the continued success of our existing hits performing in markets around the world, such as Love Island and I’m A Celebrity. It allows for greater context and valuable insight, and gets conversations started in earnest ahead of Mip TV and other global markets over the next few months.”

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