Media Ranch’s Sophie Ferron

Recognizing the production challenges that the unscripted entertainment industry is facing, Media Ranch has come up with the Quick Turnaround Format (QTF) category, with high-quality but easy-to-deliver content. Sophie Ferron, the company’s founder, president and executive director, shares the details.

***Image***TV FORMATS: What led Media Ranch to develop the QTF?
FERRON: Even before COVID-19, we felt there was a gold rush toward unscripted formats. We created the Quick Turnaround Format category because we knew that unscripted content would be in high demand. We realized that as soon as people are able to get back to work, shows will take months to complete and deliver in the traditional way of producing—leading to a potential gap where the supply will not easily meet the demand. Thus, we developed QTFs (and QTF adaptations of proven unscripted formats) so that producers can create high-quality, easy-to-deliver content within a low-risk environment.

TV FORMATS: Tell us what this entails. What elements are you targeting that can be produced quickly?
FERRON: It means taking our formats and suggesting uncomplicated ways for producers and broadcasters to adapt them. It may mean contestants in a game show playing remotely, or a studio show without the studio audience, or variations that require reduced crew and participants. It also means creating shows built around archives, pre-taped elements. All have the same main qualities: short, easy production time, possible high volume, lower costs but always with big entertainment value, which is a balance often not easy to achieve.

TV FORMATS: Given the shifts in the current TV ecosystem, with productions being halted and postponed and schedules being shifted, what are you hearing from buyers about the types of formats that are most in demand?
FERRON: It’s interesting, but the types of formats remain the same, perhaps a slant toward comedy, big entertainment and feel-good. But the shift toward “big idea,” easy, quick to produce, is clearly in demand.

TV FORMATS: What are some of Media Ranch’s new spring formats that can help deliver the market what it needs right now?
FERRON: We have many! Some of the easier ones to produce that meet the need for fun and engaging entertainment include Baking in the Dark, Clash of the Comedians, Blind Dating, True Sex Confessions and Overruled. We’re working on a QTF adaptation of our blockbuster hit Watch! as well.