The classic game show “It’s a Knockout” is returning to European TV as Banijay Rights retools and relaunches the format, which has teams competing in absurd games while sporting wacky costumes.
Production is underway on an Italian version of the original physical game show, and in France a new version of “Jeux Sans Frontieres” has been greenlit by pubcaster France Televisions. BPM and Air Productions are making the French show, which will go out in a primetime slot on France 2 in early 2020. Other versions of the format are also in the works.
Launching new entertainment shows is tough in a cluttered market, and family-friendly formats are in demand from traditional channels. “For a big linear broadcaster it is a big broad show the whole family can watch together,” Lucas Green, Banijay’s head of content, told Variety. “People are now at home watching lots of different screens, but this has something for everybody, from the epic fails to silly costumes to nostalgia value. And at a time when there are divisions, this celebrates countries across Europe competing, and does it with a sense of humor.”
The idea for the original 1960s French show allegedly came from President Charles de Gaulle, who was keen to promote postwar relations between European countries. There have been “Intervilles” – cities going up against other cities – and “Jeux Sans Frontieres,” the intra-country version.
The new Italian version for Mediaset’s Canal 5 combines both elements, with competing cities from six countries: Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain. There is a show host from each territory, effectively allowing producers to carve out local versions from one big production. A localized edition of the Italian production will go out in Spain.
The country lineup for the show filming in France has not been finalized. Banijay hopes to create a new super-hub in 2020 and take the show out to even more territories, Green said.
“It’s a Knockout” is the latest classic format Banijay Rights has brought back to market. Others include “The Crystal Maze” and “Survivor.”
“Reboots are doing well because they are tried and tested with a track record and format that works,” Green said. “Marketing is incredibly important now for big shows and, amid intense competition for eyeballs, formats and brands people know are really valuable.”
Banijay Rights is the international distribution division of Banijay Group, which recently inked a deal to buy fellow European powerhouse Endemol Shine.