ABC has won the rights to “Duel,” a hot French quizzer format that BermanBraun is producing in the U.S.
The Alphabet has ordered 10 episodes of the show, marking the first series order for Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s indie production banner. Braun is the former head of ABC, so the pact reps a sort of homecoming for the exec.
Sale of “Duel” came virtually the same day that the format, from Gallic production shingle French TV, was purchased by Blighty’s ITV. Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly — aka Ant and Dec — are producing the U.K. version via their Gallowgate Prods.
David Rosconval and Francis Vacher of French TV created the pilot and will exec produce with Berman and Braun.
“Duel” is described as a high-stakes game that combines the classic quizzer formula of questions and answers with the psychology and bluffing elements of gambling.
Contestants compete head-to-head over multiple choice questions, betting a certain number of chips based on how confident they are that they know the answer. If they answer incorrectly, they’re eliminated — unless they’ve covered themselves by betting enough chips. In order to win the cash prize, a contestant needs to beat five other players.
“What I love about it is that it’s a very tension-filled game,” Berman said. “You need to have the smarts to answer the questions and you need to have the smarts to know how to bet.”
BermanBraun alternative topper Matt Hanna has been pursuing “Duel” since before he officially started with the company earlier this summer. Company made a preemptive bid to lock up the U.S. rights.
NBC had first dibs on “Duel” because of its first-look deal with BermanBraun but passed because it has a similar project in the works, Berman said. ABC then quickly snatched up the show.
BermanBraun was aware of ITV’s pursuit of “Duel” in the U.K. and will be working in conjunction with the company on many levels, sharing resources to produce a pilot (but not the series).
Skein has also been set up in France.
The William Morris Agency handled the packaging for all three sales.