Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.

TV Formats Weekly
ITV Inter-medya

The only website for the formats industry.

October 14, 2019

***Endemol Shine Group***

***BBC Worldwide***

What If…?

***ADVERTISEMENT - Armoza Formats***Joanna Stephens checks in on what’s new in the high-risk game of social-experiment formats.

To a degree, all reality formats seek to find the universal in the particular, but few do it with such fearlessness as social experiments, with their mission to cut through the frills of culture and conditioning to reach to the heart of the human condition.

For Michael Iskas, the president of The Story Lab Global, the best social experiments put “the real back into reality” by tackling the big things, from poverty and populism to refugees and relationships, in a responsible yet entertaining way. These shows, whose antecedents can be traced back to Big Brother and Survivor in the early 2000s, open a window on human behavior and psychology by testing people under controlled, albeit extreme, conditions.

Then there are the social experiments that trade on shock value and fly-on-the-wall voyeurism to deliver a less edifying—if no less addictive—form of entertainment. “Those are still engaging to watch,” Iskas agrees, “but I don’t think that they reflect the current market trend, which is increasingly towards formats that are hard-hitting, provocative, tackle real topics and challenges, but don’t shock for shock’s sake.” The world, in short, doesn’t need more naked celebrities on yachts. “Quite apart from taste considerations, I don’t think we can go much further down that road without alienating mass-market audiences,” Iskas says.

Hayley Babcock, the head of format production and acquisitions at A+E Networks, says that the social norms upon which the original social experiment was built must chime with the culture, standards and accepted practices of potential export territories. “If a format is meant to surprise viewers with the concept of an arranged marriage, for example, one has to know if arranged marriages are commonplace in a particular country,” she says. “If so, that format is unlikely to have the same entertainment value or the impact of a social experiment.”

Sumi Connock, BBC Studios’ creative director of formats, makes a similar point: “Many issues are universal, but certain territories place more weight on particular issues. For this reason, social-experiment formats that are issue-based don’t travel in quite the same way, or at the same speed, as broader genre formats. And when they do travel, a detailed production bible and a specialist production consultancy are paramount.”

Finding the right local talent can also be tricky when adapting social experiments in multiple markets, adds Revital Basel, the managing director of networks at Keshet International (KI)—especially if the star is the story. She cites Koda Communications’ celebrity-led dating format Anna’s 12 Steps to Love, which follows professional dancer Anna Aronov on a 21-day quest to find the perfect partner. The format lives or dies on casting a relatable celebrity singleton who’s willing to put themselves into a hyper-emotional, revealing situation and be filmed at their most exposed and vulnerable. “You see this woman falling in love on the TV screen before you,” Basel says. “You feel her emotional journey and it’s compelling to watch. But the challenge will be finding local ‘Annas’ in each territory that picks up the format.”

This article continues here.


This Week's Top 5

All Together Now Set for Finnish Adaptation

Endemol Shine Group has inked a deal for its hit talent format All Together Now to be remade for local audiences in Finland, the 14th market since the show’s international launch.

Drunk History Set for Australian Version

Viacom International Studios (VIS) is slated to adapt its live-action comedy format Drunk History for Australian audiences.

BBC Studios’ DIY SOS Lands Irish Adaptation

BBC Studios has inked its first format deal on DIY SOS: Big Build, with RTÉ One on board for a local version to be hosted by Baz Ashmawy.

Tuesday’s Child Preps Killer Camp for ITV2

ITV2 has commissioned Killer Camp, a reality TV event series slated to air for five nights leading up to Halloween, from Tuesday’s Child, with Keshet International distributing the finished U.K. version and the format.

Guess Who? Game Set for TV Adaptation

Endemol Shine North America is teaming with Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures to develop the classic identity-guessing game “Guess Who?” into a new unscripted game-show format.

Subscribe | Video | Feedback | Advertise | RSS

***CJ ENM***


***All3Media International***

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram

TV Formats Digital Edition MIPCOM 2019


TV Formats Guide 2019


Have a press release you want to submit? Please e-mail Kristin Brzoznowski and Mansha Daswani.

For advertising opportunities, contact Ricardo Guise.

This email was sent to you by World Screen. To ensure that it is not labeled as spam, please add tvformats@worldscreen.com to your address book. If you would like to unsubscribe from TV Formats Weekly, please go here.

If you were forwarded TV Formats Weekly and want your own copy, or would like to sign up for any of our other newsletters, please click here. For other subscription questions, please contact Dana Mattison.

Copyright © 2019 World Screen. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A.

TV Formats Weekly is a World Screen publication. No part of TV Formats Weekly can be used, reprinted, copied or stored in any medium without the publisher's authorization.