As the demand for drama showed no signs of letting up in 2018, scripted formats had a booming year across the globe.
Asia, in particular, saw a raft of announcements in both drama and comedy. BBC Studios licensed Doctor Foster and Luther to South Korea and The Office in India. Endemol Shine Group inked deals for Chinese-language remakes of Broadchurch and Humans, and the first Asian version of The Bridge for Viu and HBO Asia. Japan’s Fuji TV commissioned a version of the legal drama Suits. The Israeli thriller Hostages headed to India. Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution licensed How I Met Your Mother for a local adaptation in China, while Last Man Standing is being remade in India and Vietnam. Nippon TV clinched its first format deal on the Japanese drama series Abandoned, with a version set for Thailand. It was indeed a good year for Asian scripted IP, with Global Content Hub by Zee scoring an African deal on the Indian drama Pavitra Rishta; Medyapim acquiring the rights to make a Turkish version of Nippon TV’s Oasis—A Love Story; and CJ ENM licensing Hidden Identity and Stranger in Russia and Another Miss Oh in Turkey.
The U.S., too, saw a wave of activity, including FOX commissioning an adaptation of the detective drama Witnesses, originally produced for France 2. Red Arrow Studios International’s Einstein and The Last Cop are in development for the U.S. 20th Century Fox Television and Endemol Shine North America are working together on the dramedy Let’s Spend the Night Together, inspired by the series Quadrus from France. Paramount Network issued a pilot order for 68 Whiskey, adapted from the Israeli series Charlie Golf One. Dynamic Television and Adi Hasak are working on a U.S. version of the German series Tempel. David Shore is adapting the British drama Accused for Paramount Network in partnership with Sony Pictures Television.
In Europe, TF1 ordered a local version of Doctor Foster; Lagardère Studios closed a deal to develop a French remake of the hit Norwegian drama Home Ground; STUDIOCANAL sealed a Russian agreement on La Porta Rossa; VIASAT3 in Hungary premiered a local version of Dori Media Group’s Argentine romantic comedy Ciega a Citas (Date Blind); This Is Us landed its first format deal, in Turkey; and the Belgian series Tytgat Chocolat (Team Chocolate) scored a U.K. remake deal.
Mexico also proved to be a hot spot last year, with deals on Keshet International’s Mythological Ex and The A Word, Red Arrow Studios International’s The Last Cop, and the Spanish series Pepe’s Beach Bar (Chiringuito de Pepe).
On the nonscripted side, meanwhile, it was another banner year for megaformats, particularly in the Asia Pacific. Of note, Talpa clinched a multiseason, multiyear deal with Star India for The Voice and The Voice Kids; Fremantle closed an agreement for Idols to return to the Philippines on a new home, ABS-CBN, and for Kids Got Talent to launch on Tencent Video in China; Australia’s Got Talent is set to come back to Channel Seven; and Indonesia’s RCTI signed a deal with Endemol Shine International for a fifth season of MasterChef.
Elsewhere, too, the big format brands scored renewals or were resurrected. Banijay Productions prepped Temptation Island for Germany and the U.S.; The Voice is coming back in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Argentina. Deal or No Deal made its return to Brazil and was revived in the U.S. Mark Burnett and Bear Grylls teamed up to revive the competition series Eco-Challenge. The Great Bake Off, MasterChef and Dancing with the Stars franchises continued their global expansion. ABC renewed the new iteration of American Idol for a sophomore season. There was also a smattering of volume deals for established brands, such as Dori Media Group granting RTL in Hungary ten years of exclusive broadcasting rights for the local adaptation of Power Couple, PPTV HD 36 in Thailand inking a three-year deal with Talpa for the entire The Voice franchise, and Asia Broadcasting Corporation in Sri Lanka agreeing to a five-season pact with Keshet International for Rising Star on Hiru TV.
There was also room for new formats to emerge, notably the singing competitions The Four from Armoza Formats and All Together Now from Endemol Shine Group, both of which notched up a slew of deals in 2018. Love Island also arrived as a major contender in the dating formats space in 2018 after having been on the air in the U.K. since 2015.
Last year saw new activity in the digital arena with OTT operators beginning to up their game in the format business. Studio Lambert’s Channel 4 show The Circle is being adapted locally by Netflix in multiple countries, including the U.S. Facebook and Fremantle struck a deal to launch new international versions of the interactive game show Confetti in the U.K., Thailand, India, Vietnam and the Philippines for Facebook Watch. Amazon Prime Video is developing a new global reality fashion series with Project Runway alums Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.