Formats on U.S. Networks

TV Formats looks at the hits (and misses) in formats on the U.S. networks.

It’s been a slower-than-usual year for format deals on the main U.S. broadcast networks.

In terms of new adaptations, CBS has slated Hunted, adapted from the British show of the same name. In a breakthrough for the Korean content business, CJ E&M’s Grandpas Over Flowers has landed on the NBC midseason grid as Better Late Than Never, featuring Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman as they travel across Asia. Shed Media’s British format First Dates is also on the NBC schedule, with Ellen DeGeneres exec-producing and Drew Barrymore narrating a show that offers a voyeuristic look at real first dates over one night at a restaurant in Chicago. FOX is gearing up to go into production on its Taye Diggs-hosted version of the BBC’s You’re Back in the Room.

The scripted space, however, appears to have taken a hit. For the fall season, just one broadcast network picked up a drama format: The CW. The network, which also went for a third season of Jane the Virgin, based on a Venezuelan telenovela, has ordered No Tomorrow, an adaptation of a Brazilian series from Globo.

Indeed, scripted formats haven’t had the best track record on the U.S. broadcast networks over the last year or so. Ahead of unveiling its new fall schedule this year, NBC revealed it was dropping Game of Silence—the first Turkish scripted series to be adapted stateside—after just one season. Mysteries of Laura, formatted from a Spanish show, was canned after two seasons. The CW, meanwhile, isn’t continuing with Containment, its midseason drama based on the Belgian TV series Cordon. These follow some high-profile failures from the 2014-15 season, notably the American take on Broadchurch, Gracepoint, and another Spanish adaptation, Red Band Society.

Even the non-scripted front saw some headline-making cancellations. American Idol ended its long run on FOX. The NBC version of Saturday Night Takeaway, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, isn’t returning. America’s Next Top Model was dropped by The CW (but is being resurrected by VH1).

However, other veteran non-scripted brands are still going strong. Survivor is going into its 33rd season on CBS. The Amazing Race will be back on in midseason for season 29. Dancing with the Stars will have its 23rd season on ABC, also home to the returning Shark Tank. MasterChef and MasterChef Junior remain on the FOX grid, alongside Hell’s Kitchen. The Bachelor and its spin-offs are still strong performers for ABC. The Voice remains a ratings generator for NBC. And this summer will see the returns of I Can Do That and America’s Got Talent to NBC, which has also gone for a second season of Little Big Shots. Also on NBC, Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon be taking the spot vacated by Donald Trump on a brand-new The Celebrity Apprentice.

Format owners can also take heart in opportunities that continue to emerge outside of the broadcast networks. Next month, AMC will premiere Feed the Beast, a Lionsgate drama starring David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess, based on the Danish drama Bankerot. And all eyes will be on how Netflix fares with its first global competition series, Ultimate Beastmaster, for which there will be six country-specific versions (the U.S., Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany and Japan).

See our full guide to the U.S. broadcast networks’ fall season here.