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Endemol Argentina finds ‘Extra’ way to work

It creates first homegrown format for global market

Endemol Argentina is producing “Extra Extra Small,” its first homegrown format for the global market that it developed after working as a production hub for parent Endemol’s “Fear Factor” and “Wipe Out.”

The first versions of “XXS” will air on Star V in Turkey and SIC in Portugal, followed by Brazil, the Middle East, Chile and later Colombia, Russia, France and Asia, Endemol Argentina topper Martin Kweller tells Variety.

The show pits families in competitions set in an oversized house that makes them look like mice climbing giant sofas, inching across rolling pins over vats of chocolate milk and swimming through obstacles in a pool-sized washing machine.

As it did with “Fear Factor” and “Wipe Out,” Endemol Argentina is producing almost all of the 20-plus localized version of “XXS.”

It brings in hosts and participants for shoots lasting up to a month and provides everything from production and stunt work to airport pickup, catering and transport.

Endemol Argentina first snared “Fear Factor” because of its cost efficiency following the country’s 65% currency devaluation in 2001.

This attracted foreign shoots to an industry that had outfitted with the newest technology in the 1990s when the peso was pegged one-for-one with the U.S. dollar.

The cost advantage has since narrowed with rising wages and double-digit annual inflation, prompting Endemol Argentina to go after assignments more aggresively and come up with its own content.

“It is not so cheap anymore, but it is a good alternative for U.S. and U.K. productions as there is still a cost difference and the quality is similar in terms of producers, cameras, lights and techniques,” as well as stunt security, says Kweller.

This experience made it possible to develop “XXS,” a first in a plan to develop more projects and win contracts for additional seasons of “Wipe Out” and other formats, he says.

“It is an issue of production quality and experience,” he says.

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