Network adapts British show for U.S.
NBC is bringing up “Baby Borrowers,” a Blighty format in which teenage couples get the chance to experience firsthand the joys and pains of parenthood.
Produced by U.K.-based Love Prods., skein will follow the teens as they fast-forward through the various stages of parenthood, starting with gaining custody of a real baby. After caring for an infant for a few days, the couples, who will be living together for the first time, will then be forced to watch over a toddler, a pre-teen, a young teenager and even a senior citizen.
“It really is adult life on fast forward — the very opposite of ‘Groundhog Day,’ said Richard McKerrow, who exec produced the original BBC3 skein and will reprise that role for NBC.
Peacock has greenlit six hourlong episodes of “Baby Borrowers,” which will likely play out as a comedy — with a message at its core, according to McKerrow.
“We really want the young people in the series and indeed everyone who watches to appreciate that parenting is one of the hardest and most important tasks you’ll ever undertake,” he said. “We also want people to think carefully about when they want to have children and with whom they want to have children.”
Given its use of small children, “Baby Borrowers” unsurprisingly generated a firestorm of controversy prior to its January broadcast on BBC3. McKerrow said the complaints died down after the show aired.
“There was initial consternation from some organizations about the notion of ‘lending babies to teenagers for a reality show,’ ” he told Daily Variety via email. “However, those criticisms were made by people before they had seen the show and without asking us about the extensive and impeccable health and safety measures put in place.”
McKerrow said the idea for “Baby Borrowers” came from blending two notions: living life on fast-forward and giving teens a wakeup call about the consequences of unplanned pregnancy. McKerrow helped develop a similar concept, “Borrow a Baby,” that aired on Blighty’s Channel 4 in 2000. Ratings for “Baby Borrowers” were strong, with the show’s premiere outrating BBC3’s usual top draw, a repeat of “EastEnders,” according to the Guardian.
“Baby Borrowers” was packaged by CAA, which reps Love Prods.