Feel-good factor coming back to TV worldwide

TV around the world is starting to ditch humiliation and confrontation in favour of the feel-good factor and good old-fashioned fun.

That’s the big message from this year’s influential five-day Mipcom audiovisual trade show which opened its doors on Monday in this ritzy French Riviera resort.

The reality shows that have dominated television over the past years, however, aren’t going to disappear, industry experts said.

But instead of putting people in extreme situations and seeing how aggressive, romantic or depressed they become, broadcasters are homing in on positive reality that encourages people to help others or improve their lives as well as straightforward entertainment programmes.

Top of the viewing pops over the next season will be gameshows. “Everyone is looking for gameshows at the moment,” Virginia Mouseler, CEO of leading TV market research outfit The WIT said here.

New versions of classic gameshows of the past are being dusted off and redesigned or revived in retro settings around the globe, Mouseler told a packed conference eager to find out the hottest TV properties of the moment.

These game shows have the advantage of appealing to the whole family, said Rob Clark, senior exec at leading international content producer and distributor FreemantleMedia.

“There’s nothing horrible about gameshows. They don’t rely on people being mean spirited.
They rely on the competitive side of people and their sense of fun,” he said in an interview.

FreemantleMedia’s extensive gameshow collection includes a large number of landmark shows, many of which are experiencing an impressive revival with audiences worldwide.

A local adaptation of Family Feud—which pits two families against each other in a quiz—has been a huge success recently in Brazil. Another vintage gameshow Sale of the Century, which has just been relaunched in Australia under the local name of Temptation, shot into pole position in its time slot.

The shows’ enormous popularity was underlined in Britain recently when nine million viewers tuned in to watch a remake of ‘50-‘60s favourite Take Your Pick when it was aired as part of a seven-week-long “Gameshow Marathon”.

The TV marathon was “a phenomenal success that captured a far great number of viewers than anyone ever expected”, Clark said.

Simple and sometimes silly questions combined with celebrity contestants and interactive voting also helped the show achieve smash hit status, he noted.

Well-known stars have also helped propel other new feel-good, light-hearted entertainment concepts, including the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing format, into the top viewing ratings.

The US-version, Dancing With the Stars, became one of the country’s few reality hits this summer. The knock-out series features non-dancing celebs who team-up with some of the world’s leading professional dancers to try and become a nimble-footed duo.

Making the formats work well with local audiences is key to the shows travelling the world, industry experts note.

FreemantleMedia, for example, flies its producers out to work with local broadcasters in countries where they don’t have production facilities to ensure the new show is as close to the original as possible.

Viewers can look forward to a rich offering of new shows over the coming months.

Off-beat new gameshows due to hit the screens include Britain’s Cash Cab, in which unsuspecting travellers climb into a taxi for an unique ride that pays them cash prizes if they can answer questions correctly en route. The downside is that they get dropped off wherever they are if they get three wrong answers.

Belgian format Fata Morgana encourages communities to work together to achieve a seemingly impossible project in just one week.

But television viewers who still prefer bad behaviour Big Brother style shows shouldn’t be disappointed either. Watch out big brother, Big Mother has just hit the TV screens in Greece. So it probably won’t be long before old-style reality fans will be able to watch the mothers who are locked up with their son or daughter in a Big Mother house, slug it out to become “household leader”. - AFP

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