Over the Atlantic with Rabbit Films

Jonathan Tuovinen, the COO and head of international at Rabbit Films, talks to TV Formats about the celebrity-centered original format Over the Atlantic. 

Six celebrities, a trained sailor and a medical professional are all in a sailboat and headed to the Canary Islands from the Caribbean. One celebrity leads the team. Technology cannot be used. How do they complete the voyage? This is not, as you may have thought, the start of a tricky riddle or clever joke; it’s the basis of a successful original format from Rabbit Films that shows how a maritime adventure can double as a journey of self-discovery.

In Over the Atlantic, a group of celebrities—professionals in their respective entertainment fields, but novices at the helm—take to the high seas with a trusty captain to help them steer the way to their destination. Along the voyage, the famous personalities put their wills to the test against the waves and winds out on the open ocean while connecting with their inner selves and sailing teammates, unable to access the internet to reach their land-based families and friends. All the while, cameras follow their every move and maneuver against the Atlantic.

“The audience does not only get to follow an interesting journey, where rookies develop themselves as sailors and ***Image***grow a special bond within the team, but this format reminds and shows what kind of effect being connected to nature and away from technology has to different human personalities,” says Tuovinen. “After all, tech-detox and adventure holidays are the booming trend in the travel industry at the moment.”

Developed by Rabbit Films’ in-house team, Over the Atlantic first launched in Finland, where it became the highest-rated show of all time on Discovery Networks’ TV5 in the Nordic country, with an audience share of 32 percent. The second season of the format is slated to bow on TV5 this fall.

Since its debut in Finland, Over the Atlantic has been adapted in both Sweden and Denmark for their local Kanal 5 channels, and has been licensed in Belgium to a yet-to-be-announced broadcaster. The celeb-centered adventure-reality series has also been optioned to France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Across the various markets, the format has largely remained the same, according to Tuovinen, who explains: “Finland season one sailed from the Caribbean to the Canary Islands, whereas the following adaptations have all gone the opposite route. The Danes also had a slightly larger boat at their disposal, but otherwise, the format has been relatively similar.”

“The structure of the format is that after the take-off episode, each episode focuses on one celebrity at a time,” Tuovinen adds. “The sailing always ends at the arrival of the end destination. But there can be flexibility regarding the route, duration of the sailing, crew and boat size, for example.”

Though so far Rabbit Films has solely secured deals for Over the Atlantic in Europe since its launch at MIPCOM in 2017, Tuovinen hopes that the format will soon be on the deck for broadcasters in the Americas and Asia.