BBC Studios’ Andre Renaud

At MIPCOM this year, BBC Studios gave a selection of executives an opportunity to display their smarts with a live play-along of The 1% Club. The game-show format from Magnum Media in the U.K. has emerged as one of BBC Studios’ buzziest hits. Having already rolled out in markets such as France, Germany, Israel and Spain, BBC Studios announced new deals in Cannes, including one with Prime Video in the U.S. and Canada. The 1% Club is part of an extensive game-show slate at BBC Studios that encompasses new hits as well as library classics that are being rebooted for a new era. Andre Renaud, senior VP of global format sales, talks to TV Formats about the always-present demand for game shows and the innovations needed to cut through the clutter.

***Image***TV FORMATS: What are some of your key game-show format highlights?
RENAUD: The last several years have seen a large volume of game shows on the screen worldwide, both new ideas and reboots. The success of The 1% Club keeps growing for us and for Magnum Media. Bridge of Lies has been airing on BBC One. That’s from STV Studios. We have a version now in Spain. The game-show sphere is quite wide; In with a Shout, for example, on ITV, I would still count as a game show. This is where everyone’s just shouting at the TV about what they see to win money. The Weakest Link has been doing well for us in the U.S. with Jane Lynch and on the BBC with Romesh Ranganathan. Those reboots have been quite popular.

TV FORMATS: What new innovations do you need to grab a buyer’s attention when there are numerous game-show formats out there?
RENAUD: A great game show is one the viewers can play along at home. The 1% Club is a great example of that. And the great thing about that format is it’s not about what you know; it’s just about what you see. If we’re talking about what iterations and innovations there are, I think physicality is back, but not necessarily in the way we might think. So, it’s not necessarily physical game shows but something with movement. While budgets are tight, we’re seeing something else come through: game shows that are not stationary. Moneybags is an example—they’re physically picking up things as they go. Breaking Point, which we had on RTL in Germany, where you’re waiting to see what the breaking point of something is, also has a lot of physicality. And the game within a game, a hybrid with reality, is also picking up interest.

TV FORMATS: What differentiates an access game show from a prime-time one?
RENAUD: Besides the budget? Truthfully, not much. A good format has to be scalable. We’re talking about elements that satisfy a daytime viewer and budget versus a prime-time viewer and budget. You’re possibly looking at games that can be played across the week in a daily strip instead of high-stakes stand-alone. The tone is usually lighter for daytime, and there’s quite a lot more tension in prime time. Let’s remember that game shows have transitioned from daytime to prime time and can have those versions, and you see what scales up. The Weakest Link in the U.K. at the moment is in access. An excellent format is always scalable.

TV FORMATS: If you’re trying to resurrect a classic game-show brand, how would you make it fresh and relevant for contemporary audiences?
RENAUD: A good idea is a good idea. People are looking for authenticity and truth in storytelling. That also can go through into a great game show. If I look at Friends Like These, does ithave to be gendered groups now? Can it be colleagues? Can it be things that make it a bit more modern and inclusive? If you look at The Weakest Link, the people hosting it now are true comedians. There’s a wink and nudge that makes it feel more inclusive and warmer and less combative.

TV FORMATS: How do you innovate every season for returning brands?
RENAUD: There are loads of straightforward things that you can do to continue playing a great game show. The talent who are engaged in it. You also can look at specials around particular themes. Celebrity versions tend to do well. In The 1% Club, we launched a play-along app for season two.

TV FORMATS: What are the pillars of a good game-show format that make it replicable and scalable across varying markets?
RENAUD: First and foremost, it needs to be a simple premise that anyone can understand. Adaptable questions, so a premise that can make it feel local. Make it as visual as possible. And the hosts, particularly for the tone you’re trying to achieve. When we’re looking at re-versioning, we spend a lot of time on the role of a host in a particular game show. Are they on your side? Are they your enemy? Are they there to create a sense of fun? That’s crucial in finding the talent to allow that to happen and create the atmosphere.

TV FORMATS: How do you see the market for game shows in the 12 months ahead, amid the squeeze on programming budgets and a slowdown in scripted?
RENAUD: When I speak to clients around the world, there’s always a feeling that viewers come to game shows. Regardless of what’s happening around the world, I don’t see any waning of game shows happening anytime soon in markets where there is already an appetite for them. I am starting to see that markets that don’t necessarily have a traditional appetite for game shows are also considering them for the exact reasons you describe. You can film three or four of these in a day. I don’t see any sign of game shows waning.

TV FORMATS: We’ve seen streamers enter the format space, but not significantly in the game-show arena. Do you see that changing?
RENAUD: Streamers will continue to try all genres as a way of capturing the audience. Even if you look at how streamers were exploring reality as a genre to begin with and how we all thought perhaps that wouldn’t be something that would work. They continue to test the models. The insight and the data streamers have means they can drill down into what viewers enjoy when they’re watching something. There’s a way of differentiating that streamers will probably continue working on. I don’t think they’re going to walk away from it entirely. Especially streamers that have linear channels and can stream across all of their platforms.