WorldScreenings: Global Agency


The entertainment format Is That Really Your Voice turns the traditional studio show on its head, asking the judges to make their selections based on looks alone. The concept is an original idea from Izzet Pinto, the founder and CEO of Global Agency, and is poised to be his biggest hit yet.

Pinto created the format in 2013, inspired after having seen a clip of Susan Boyle, who stunned judges on the third season of Britain’s Got Talent with her sensational voice despite her somewhat dowdy appearance. “We all have prejudices when we see people based on how they look, what they wear, their weight, their height,” he says. “We have our own ideas about whether that person is capable of doing something or not, especially when it comes to a performance art. When you look at someone, you develop an idea about if they can sing or not, whether they have a good voice or they don’t. I thought, why don’t I create a game show with musical elements and comedy, like a competition show for guessing music with lots of entertainment value.”

And thus, the concept was born. With a short demo in hand, Pinto and the Global Agency team took the format out to the global market in 2014. The initial feedback was positive, but the take-up was spurred along by the trend toward entertainment guessing games that ensued in the last two years. TF1 was the first broadcaster to come on board, airing the show as Good Singers. The show made its debut in France in July, going to air despite the challenging times brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and delivering the right mix of entertainment and laughs that audiences had been so desperately looking for. Good Singers broke records on TF1 with nearly 3.3 million viewers, becoming the highest-rated new show of the summer for the channel.

On the back of this stellar performance, Global Agency has closed deals in 14 territories for the format, including in Europe. Pinto himself was recently in Russia attending the taping of the local version, which will air as Musical Intuition. “They shot 12 episodes to air on the TNT channel, which is known for its comedy shows,” says Pinto. “I feel optimistic that it could go for 10 to 20-plus seasons—it was so good! During the shooting, even the producers had to stop the show because they were laughing so hard. The host has a background in stand-up comedy. It went really, really well.”

That trip to the studio inspired Pinto in other ways as well. “In the last 14 years of Global Agency’s history, I have been motivated a couple of times to become a producer,” he says. “I just didn’t think I had the right project to enter into production. I thought, my first production should really work! People have expectations. But in Russia, I was triggered, and I will produce Is That Really Your Voice in Turkey. I have spoken with one of the leading TV channels in Turkey; they want the show. I think it could be on-air by this summer.”

He says that the format lends itself well to these pandemic times, both in terms of production safety and audience appeal. The show can be filmed with a relatively small audience compared to other entertainment talent shows, as the focus remains on the six celebrity panelists, who are divided into two teams, and the host. “This is such an easy-to-follow show,” Pinto says. “As a viewer, you are always guessing: good singer or bad singer. It’s fun to play. As a family or with friends, everybody can make their guess. In a couple of minutes, it is revealed if your guess was right or wrong. It’s a fun game. It involves celebrities, amazing music, a great stage; it’s a shiny-floor entertainment program. It has all the dynamics of a good show.”

The performance on TF1 was testament to that, he adds. “At the end of the day, it’s all about numbers; you look at the ratings. There’s a lot of competition in France, and the results were amazing. I expect similar results in Russia. I find this show to be risk-free.” Along with the strong ratings for TF1, the social media buzz for the show was overwhelmingly positive.

This all has given Pinto much confidence and enthusiasm for the company’s performance in 2021. “For a long time, we didn’t have a big prime-time franchise. Having one of these changes the dynamics of the business; there are much bigger license fees. Mostly, our successful formats were daytime, daily shows. We now have a big chance to achieve a major brand.”

The format has been submitted to award competitions around the globe, and Pinto is hoping to see acclaim on that front for the show as well. “Since it’s my own creation, it’s like one of my kids. Seeing it grow and be appreciated by the public, attracting millions of viewers, is so much fun. It’s a dream come true!”

See Global Agency’s Winter 2021 Showcase here.