Brazil’s Alternative TV King Boninho To Bow ‘Tomara que caia’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Comedy acting contest comes as Globo returns to format production

Courtesy of Globo

Boninho, Brazil’s doyen of unscripted TV, is launching a new alternative TV show, “Tomara que caia,” as Globo, Latin America’s biggest broadcast network, puts its huge weight behind its formats biz.

Airing Sunday in late primetime beginning July 19, led in by Globo’s top Sunday show, newsmagazine Fantastico, “Tomara que caia” (literally: “I Hope You Fall Down”), a concept created by Boninho, certainly has a sporting chance of becoming the Next Big Thing in Brazil.

Globo will also add “Tomara que caia” to its ever more diversified international sales slate, aiming to launch the format at early October’s Cannes Mipcom TV trade fair.

A comedic talent show featuring actors and star comedian guests, “Tomara” will be performed live before a studio audience, said Boninho, the media moniker for the 54-year-old Sao Paulo-born Jose Bonificio Brasil de Oliveira.

In “Tomara que caia,” two teams of four actors face off enacting a simple but original play, penned by Globo’s inhouse writers, which can be adapted worldwide, Boninho explained. Every three or four minutes, the group performing is “trolled” — presented with a challenge, such as to perform their roles talking like dogs. Each group has four challenges and a savior card, the latter to get them onstage again, Boninho told Variety.

“Tomara” has two elements that on paper will boost local ratings, and then some.

Every week, each team will feature a special guest, very often a top Brazilian comedian, per Boninho. Often breaking through on Globo, in telenovelas or standup comedy shows, Brazil’s leading comics – think Leandro Hassum, Ingrid Guimaraes — have huge popularity both on TV and also in movies, where local comedies frequently best Hollywood comedy imports.

Second, Brazilian median age is 31.2 years. Such a youthful population invites a larger interactivity in shows. Per Boninho, going out live, “Tomara que caiga” will institute audience engagement tools, allowing studio audiences and outside viewers to register in real time and consistently their support or disapproval of a group’s performance during the trolls.

“I’ve haven’t seen anything like this before. We’re mixing everything together: drama, comedy, reality, the game, the interactivity. I think it’s very new,” Boninho said.

Boninho is associated with most of Globo’s big alternative TV plays, many Brazilian spins on international classics: Pioneers “No Limite” (an “Expedition Robinson” riff), “Big Brother Brazil,” “Hipertensao” (the Brazilian version of “Fear Factor”), mystery murder investigation “O Jogo,” “The Voice Brazil” and “Superstar.” “BBB” is now in its 15th edition. But formats have generally disappeared from Globo’s grid. That could well now be reversed.

“We are already a major producer of soap operas, and we have many more creative talents in other styles. The idea is to take advantage of our team to develop other formats,” Boninho said.