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Mipcom: U.K.’s Zig Zag and China’s C3 Team up on Epic Gladiatorial Reality Show ‘Ancient Games’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The two companies will team up on producing the celebrity game-show format for Chinese, U.K. and international markets

CANNES — Chinese production companies are not typically known for bringing entertainment shows to Cannes, but at this year’s Mipcom, 3C Media looks to buck that trend. The company has announced a co-development deal with U.K. Indie producers Zig Zag on a new epic reality show format, “Ancient Games.”

London-based Zig Zag Productions is well-known as one of the U.K.’s leading indie TV producers. The company has worked with more than 50 broadcasters from around the globe. In the U.S., it produces for Fox, Discovery, TLC, Travel, Nat Geo, A&E, Fust, History, OWN, PBS, SyFy and Current TV. The company has produced content across numerous genres such as documentary, children’s programming, scripted fiction and sports programming. “Ancient Games,” will fit nicely into their catalog of unscripted programming.

Founded in 2004, C3 is a Chinese company with strong international ties and offices in Bejing and London. In 2006, the company adapted “Strictly Come Dancing” for the Chinese market, and has since focused on adapting other international formats for Chinese audiences, while also creating and distributing original programming for their domestic market.

The “Ancient Games,” format was first proposed at the Shanghai TV festival in the China Original TV Formats competition. Zig Zag then reached out and an agreement was made to co-produce the format for Chinese, U.K. and international markets. The next step is to build a ancient-looking colosseum in China, which will play host to the Chinese format and act as an international headquarters for other productions of the format.

The show itself will be an athletic competition between modern-day, super-fit contestants. Former athletes, actors and other celebrities will compete over the course of the series in a number of ancient-themed competitions. Aside from the sporting dimension, the show will have a reality feel as contestants are forced to eat, sleep and dress in the same conditions that the athletes would have centuries ago.

“‘Ancient Games’ is a gladiatorial show of epic proportions, 2000 years in the making! We are delighted to be working with 3C Media, China’s leading TV production business, to create what may be the biggest original TV format to come out of China so far,” said Danny Fenton, CEO Zig Zag Productions.

His sentiment was echoed by Shirley Cheng, senior VP of 3C Media: “3C is a Chinese company with international vision. We’ve had a successful and enjoyable experience working with international partners in the past 10 years. The agreement with Zig Zag on Ancient Games will definitely be one of our milestone international co-operations.”

The new format will be presented by the two companies on Monday night at Mipcom as part of their session, From History to the Future – The Beauty of Working with China.


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