Warner Bros International Television Production has acquired format rights to distribute BBC One’s new quiz show, The Link. BBC One has commissioned 25 episodes for a daytime slot. The show is produced by STV Productions in association with LTV. Not to be confused with the BBC’s The Weakest Link, the game show pits teams against each other as they race to find the link between questions. Guess the connections, break the links, win money. “We know that great game shows are back at the top of broadcasters’ wish lists. The Link is that rare thing — an original new quiz show with a strong identity in terms of both its game play and visual elements, commissioned in a key market. Our excitement is shared by Mike Darnell and his team at the Warner Bros Television Group, who will be bringing it to market in the U.S.,” says WBITP’s Andrew Zein. The UK version of the show will be hosted by actor Mark Williams, best known as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. Gary Chippington is executive producer for STV Productions, Jo Street is executive producer for the BBC and Paul Johnson is executive producer for LTV and Tuvalu Entertainment Ltd.
Mip-TV: Warner Takes Format Rights To BBC’s ‘The Link’; FremantleMedia Intl To Sell ‘Lindsay’; Keshet’s Avi Nir To Keynote; The Company, Dori Media Partner
Reporting from Jerusalem
With the TV business evolving at a rapid pace, Lionsgate COO of television, Sandra Stern, mused on Tuesday that “every generation is now 15 minutes old.” She made the remark on a panel here at Keshet’s Innovative TV Conference and was joined by eOne TV CEO John Morayniss and WME agent and partner Marc Korman. The execs discussed shifting paradigms, a potential talent shortage and the wisdom of remakes.
Business models are changing and “Everybody is looking around saying ‘How do we make noise?’” But “if you do good work, the audiences are going to find you,” Stern commented. Lionsgate’s Orange Is The New Black found a lot of love when it debuted on Netflix this summer. Morayniss noted that along with Netflix and other new entrants, there are “probably over 50 networks in the U.S. that are commissioning original scripted programming.” EOne is teamed with Discovery on Klondike, the net’s first original. “Good shows will rise to the top, there will be a market, and money will be made.”
Reporting from Jerusalem
NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt took a trip around the dial of his previous posts, and his current one, this morning at the Innovative TV conference that’s organized here by Israel’s Keshet Media Group. The former Fox and Showtime exec was praised for the success of NBC’s hot freshman The Blacklist, and noted that the network “used to be one of the most innovative, acclaimed networks in America. We’re trying to bring that back.” In September, Greenblatt’s NBC contract was renewed through 2017, a vote of confidence for the exec just days before the start of the new broadcast season. He tossed kudos to NBC parent Comcast today, quipping that NBC “used to be owned by GE, a company that made airplane parts.”
But moving from cable to broadcast came with its own set of trials, he said, after a series of clips was played from Six Feet Under, the HBO show he exec produced, and Dexter, Showtime’s recently ended serial killer hit. “We’re in the process of trying to figure out what is the next stage of broadcast TV. We compete with cable every day. Network shows have kind of gotten safe and predictable and a little old-fashioned… We have to be provocative and do things to surprise people.” NBC “is a great network” thanks to its history with shows like Seinfeld, ER, Friends, St Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues, which were “innovative. But, there’s certain things we can’t do,” Greenblatt said before adding, “I don’t look at is as handcuffs; those limitations can ultimately be a good thing.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: Bear Grylls Explores ‘The Island Of Lost Blokes’ With Channel 4; BAC Films Distribution Acquired; More
Bear Grylls, Channel 4 Explore ‘The Island Of Lost Blokes’
Bear Grylls is teaming up with the UK’s Channel 4 for documentary series The Island Of Lost Blokes. The show sends 12 male volunteers to a remote deserted island for four weeks and leaves them with a limited supply of food and water. Once they run out, the men will have to work to survive. The series asks the question: Without the luxuries of 21st century living, can modern man cut it? Grylls calls it “Lord Of The Flies meets Bear Grylls meets Darwin’s survival of the fittest.” Shine TV is producing with Bear Grylls Ventures.
There’s been a similar vibe across the past several major television markets that take place here in Cannes twice a year, with everybody looking for the next big tentpole reality format. But at this Mipcom, there is a sense of urgency as the U.S. broadcast networks are in dire need of finding successors for their aging marquee franchises. Since the spring MIPTV, three of the four major networks have seen a change at the top of their unscripted departments as part of the efforts to shake things up in the area. The last big reality format to score big in the U.S., The Voice, came from overseas, as did most of the older big American unscripted franchises, including American Idol and Dancing With The Stars, so unscripted formats from around the world offered at MIPCOM will get attention. Here are a few shows and untapped reality areas that are setting the Croisette abuzz:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Channel 4 Debuts UK’s First Mobile Catch-Up Service; Second INTV Conference Set For November
Channel 4 Debuts UK’s First Mobile Catch-Up Service
Channel 4 has become the first commercial UK broadcaster to offer a free offline mobile catch-up service. The ad-supported service allows viewers in Britain the opportunity to download shows to their mobile devices. Registered viewers will have access to content for 30 days after shows air and once downloaded, they will have up to seven days to complete viewing before the content auto-expires. Nissan is a sponsor.
Second INTV Conference Set For November
The Keshet Media Group is planning its second INTV conference which will run November 4 and 5 in Jerusalem. The focus will be on the convergence of innovation and technology in the TV industry. Speakers will include Hulu Head of Content Acquisition Alex Kruglov; Lionsgate COO of Television Sandra Stern; Channel 4 Head of Entertainment Justin Gorman; producer Caryn Mandabach; David Eilenberg, SVP Unscripted Development at TBS and TNT; WME’s Rick Rosen; and Keshet UK’s Sara Johnson and Amelia Hann. The event is hosted by Keshet CEO Avi Nir.