Belgian Quiz Show Blokken Reworked for COVID-19 Safety Measures


The long-running Belgian quiz show Blokken has revamped its gameplay to take into account new social-distancing and safety measures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eén is broadcasting new Blokken episodes that have been entirely adjusted for the corona measures. Host Ben Crabbé will be standing in the studio, with a very limited crew and without an audience. The candidates sit in their own living room, taking part in the quiz from their home.

This modification to the format required major and in-depth gaming software adjustments. The main computer in the studio has been equipped with two satellite laptops for the contestants to play on at home. Those three computers behave as if they were in the same room. The communication happens over the internet. The software rules out any advantages or disadvantages concerning fluctuating internet speeds.

The players stay home and communicate live with the host in the studio through the principle of a video chat. Each candidate receives a visit from one technical crew member. They install a camera at the candidate’s home, a monitor and a laptop. This laptop runs software that logs into the central gaming computer at the studio. On the monitor, the candidates see the host asking questions. Via the laptop, they can press the button and move the pieces on the game board—and this in real-time.

The host remains in the studio, together with a very limited crew: the jury, a light technician, a sound technician and a locations manager. All of the cameras are unmanned, operated remotely. The remaining crew members are spread out across the area in other rooms. All of the crew members permanently wear a face mask, and there is no audience in the studio.

A detailed safety protocol is enforced both during the visit to the candidate’s home and for the crew at the studio.