Lisa Perrin, CEO of creative networks at Endemol Shine Group, talks to TV Formats about the inception of music format All Together Now.
Billed as a large-scale music extravaganza, All Together Now follows as performers take to the stage hoping to entice an in-studio chorus of 100 musical experts to get out of their seats and sing along with them. The more who join in, the higher a contestant’s score. The Endemol Shine Group format has sold into 12 markets in the 12 months since its launch and is credited as the fastest-traveling format of 2018.
“We really wanted to find the next big traveling entertainment hit as it had been a good few years since a show in this genre has really traveled and been adapted in multiple markets,” says Perrin.
The format was created by James Fox and Dom Waugh at Remarkable Television, part of Endemol Shine UK. “During one of their development sessions, they began thinking about how we experience singing in the real world, and quite quickly they started talking about singing along and joining in,” says Perrin. “It’s something we all do every day, from singing along at a massive music gig to driving the kids to school and singing along to the radio. It’s universal, and they took that feeling of euphoria and added the twist with The 100, which adds jeopardy and draws viewers during the performance. The 100 really feels different and like a move away from the traditional panel of judges.
“One thing I really love about All Together Now is that it’s not a search for the next big pop star but rather showcases standout performances to get The 100 up on their feet and joining in,” she adds.
The show originally launched on BBC One in January 2018 and was one of the channel’s most successful new entertainment launches of recent years, performing particularly well with young audiences. “There was something about The 100 that really engaged the younger demographic; we think it’s the variety within The 100, their big voices and real opinions,” says Perrin.
In the U.K., the show airs on Saturday night, “which is the Holy Grail for entertainment,” Perrin says. “We were thrilled when BBC One’s Kate Phillips and Rachel Ashdown from the entertainment commissioning team quickly ordered a second series and a celebrity special.”
The international deals came rolling in quickly thereafter. Australia commissioned a local treatment before the series even launched on the BBC, but the first territory to debut their version was Brazil. The recent deal with RTL in the Netherlands brings the format into its 12th market.
“We’re thrilled with the response in all markets where the show has aired so far,” says Perrin. “In Brazil on RecordTV, the series reached a huge audience of 15.3 million viewers.”
She points to the flexibility of the format as being one of its best assets. “The original show was shaped for a Saturday night slot on BBC One, but there is plenty of scope to extend and expand.
“Being an entertaining family show from start to finish is integral to the success of the show and the brand. We firmly believe that we need to maintain the brand values for any new versions, but we must allow for local markets to adapt to suit their local tastes. We’ve found this particularly happens with song choices. Every country has its favorite song.”
Fox and Waugh consult on all the versions and are on hand to discuss potential changes, “using their experiences on the U.K. show to help the local teams,” Perrin explains. “Equally, they are using learnings from around the world to feed back into the U.K. show and beyond.”
The new U.K. season has been tweaked as well. “We’ve really amplified the digital plans, which will engage the core younger audiences more than ever,” she says. “There’s going to be a pre-show on YouTube, and BBC Three will show ‘Behind the Singing’ short films on some of The 100, telling their amazing stories. There will be an integrated social media campaign working across BBC and All Together Now platforms. We’d love to roll this out around the world and share best practices.”
Given that it’s a big entertainment show, All Together Now has claimed prime-time slots around the world, though episode durations do vary depending on the country. “Because of the flexibility of the format, we’ve been able to extend or shorten the BBC’s one-hour version,” says Perrin.
The format’s simple premise “makes it easy for broadcasters in any market to adapt locally,” she notes. “The 100 getting up and joining in is infectious and universally appealing. They say what’s on their mind. It’s funny and irreverent. It’s truly uplifting event TV.
“Leveraging our scale and using the collective experience and expertise from around the group has enabled us to build brand awareness and share best practices,” Perrin continues. “It’s important to us that we keep these brand values and get them to travel around the globe.”
She describes the show as “a big, fun party the viewer is invited along to.” On the back of the series’ strong performance in Brazil, Perrin would like to see more LatAm countries get on board as it “fits perfectly with that Latin party vibe.”
Driven by this success in the first year out of the gate, Endemol Shine is hoping to keep the momentum going throughout 2019 and beyond. “We’d love the success to continue with commissions in new markets as well as recommissions in those that have already launched the show,” says Perrin. “Those recommissions will be a big area of focus for us.”
She also believes there’s potential in rolling out a celebrity version. BBC One aired a celeb special over the Christmas holiday that did well “and was a real hit in the 16-to-34 demographic. We think other markets might be interested in the spin-off too. Brazil has already done an all-star version. We’re developing ideas to extend the brand even further; there could be a ‘juniors’ series sometime soon.”