Scripted Remake Savvy

A recent Turkish remake of Liar marked the latest adaptation of Harry and Jack Williams’ critically acclaimed drama series made for ITV and SundanceTV and sold by All3Media International. A prolific provider of finished dramas to broadcasters and platforms worldwide, All3Media International is increasingly tapping into newfound scripted format opportunities. Jane Sharp, formats executive at the company, tells TV Formats about what’s driving the surging interest in remakes.

TV FORMATS: How is the overall demand for scripted drama formats today?
SHARP: Demand for scripted formats has been growing in all our sales regions—both before and during the pandemic. While historically it was volume that was a key driver in a potential deal, we have noticed a big shift to limited series proving very appealing, an example being Liar, the Two Brothers [Pictures] thriller that was produced and optioned in several territories before a second series was commissioned. Equally, we are seeing an increase in the number of broadcasters approaching us to option and license, rather than third-party producers.

TV FORMATS: What is driving the interest in drama remakes and reboots?
SHARP: Various reasons at play. SVODs have definitely made everyone aware that audiences’ tastes are broader than might have been imagined. People are keen to secure the rights for strong stories, even if the cultural nuances are different from their regular dramas.

The proven factor of an established hit is also appealing, of course. While there is no guarantee of a hit show, arguably, you stack the odds in reproducing a show that has worked to critical acclaim in another territory. And that, of course, really reduces preproduction and development time, so you can get to screen quicker—and therefore cheaper.

TV FORMATS: What are some of the keys to successful drama remakes?
SHARP: Keeping the core values of the format while using local scriptwriters to adapt the story culturally is important, as well as making sure storylines are universal and can easily be retold and feel relatable to all. Our show Step Dave features a relationship between a younger man and an older woman—the humor of that situation is subtly changed in some regions—but it’s the same show nonetheless.

Like with non-scripted formats, we provide licensees with bibles and consultancies, including calls with the original producers to ensure that all the learnings from producing the show originally are passed on.

We also make sure we are accessible; we’re only a video call away, and we support and work with the local producers to approve format changes as they go through the writing process.