With Brexit looming in the U.K., a reality TV host presiding over the Oval Office in the U.S. and a seemingly unending stream of news headlines from all over the world with stories each more rattling than the next, these are, indeed, strange times we’re living in.
Television tastes can be a great barometer of what’s going on politically and economically in the world. When the events of real life are dark and twisty enough themselves, programming that provides optimism and escapism is often what’s in demand. Light entertainment can be the perfect antidote to the nonstop onslaught of doom-and-gloom discussions about climate change, recessions and riots. Perhaps that’s part of the reason the bizarre, wacky, laughter-inducing antics of The Masked Singer have struck a chord in so many markets around the world recently.
Also, the heartfelt contestants and slow-burn style of The Great British Bake Off have charmed viewers all over the globe, including in the U.S., where a local version returns in time for the holidays. In this issue of TV Formats, we hear from Love Productions’ Richard McKerrow about the warmth and care that have given rise to the hit show. We also hear from The Amazing Race co-creator Bertram van Munster, who talks about how the series is perfect for a whole family to watch together.
The authenticity and “real reality” of social experiments are resonating, with the current market trend being toward those that explore true-to-life societal issues. We examine what’s new in social-experiment formats in another in-depth feature. TV Formats also shines a light on the wave of physical competition formats, reflecting the zeitgeist of mindfulness surrounding health and fitness.
It’s not just viewers’ tastes that are shifting with the times; buyers’ budgets are as well. Game shows tend to see a rise in commissions when the economy is in a slump. As Fremantle’s Rob Clark tells us in this issue, the genre—lauded for being safe, cost-effective and reliable—is back in a big way.
As minimizing costs and risk, and maximizing innovation, are top of mind for many in the formats business during these challenging times, we also explore how co-development is becoming increasingly popular.
After a long stretch of complex dramas awash with complicated (sometimes morally compromised) characters, all hail the entertainment format.
You can read the MIPCOM edition of TV Formats here.