Izzet Pinto, founder and CEO of Global Agency, talks to TV Formats about the company’s globally successful quiz-show format Joker.
The quiz show Joker features reversals of fortune from start to finish, as contestants win and lose money at breakneck speeds right up until the end. The series has been licensed into a handful of countries by Global Agency, which has seen the format picking up steam as of late after being in the catalog for six years.
Joker was created by Erdi Yapim, one of the co-creators of Global Agency’s hit daily strip Shopping Monsters. The series debuted in 2013 on TRT in Turkey, garnering strong ratings for the channel across more than 50 episodes. The company’s long-time client Hervé Hubert then came to Turkey to shoot a French pilot, which caught the interest of France 2. The channel aired 300-plus episodes to much success about four years ago, but gave the show time to rest two years back. Joker has since returned on France 2, now airing weekly instead of daily.
Izzet Pinto, founder and CEO of Global Agency, says that after its solid performances in Turkey and France, the format “was on pause” for a little while, since quiz shows were proving a tougher sell in the marketplace. Much like the changing fates of the players in the series itself, the format has now seen a resurgence in interest.
Poland’s Super Polsat licensed the show and has aired 80 episodes across two seasons, with a third in consideration. Having its sights set on breaking into Western Europe, Global Agency sold the format in Portugal last year, with 200 episodes commissioned. Joker has since been airing every day on RTP. Slovenia is the most recent country to come on board, with public broadcaster TV SLO 1 having launched the show in February for 25 weekly episodes in prime time. “The channel is super happy with the viewing figures,” says Pinto. “Some episodes have reached over a 40 percent share; so almost half of the country watched the show. It’s the highest rated program on the channel.”
With the momentum continuing like a domino effect, in the last six months, Global Agency has secured a slew of option deals. This includes across Europe such as in Italy, Spain and Germany, as well as in countries across the Middle East.
In the format, players are asked ten questions and have seven “jokers” to help them eliminate wrong answers from the multiple choices offered. For each correct response, the player moves up the money tree. A wrong answer means they lose three jokers, and when the jokers have run out, contestants drop down three pegs on the money tree. Whatever their position is when the last question is answered determines their winnings.
While the format is “perfect” to run as a daily show, Pinto says that Joker has the flexibility for broadcasters looking to run it weekly. “It’s great for access slots or even late prime time. It airs in Portugal at 9 p.m. with huge success. There are some formats that just work everywhere; this is one of those formats.”