‘Star in the Star,’ ‘The 100,’ ‘Fight School’ Tap Into Our Need to Protect and Survive, The Wit’s CEO Says

The 100
Courtesy of Tuvalu/Ruben Timman/NOWORDS.NL

Masked talent formats and survival shows for a pandemic-hit world are among the buzz-worthy projects identified by The Wit’s Fresh TV online session at Mipcom Monday.

Virginia Mouseler, the format tracker’s CEO, framed her online session on Mipcom Online+ like a TikTok feed, complete with dance moves – all while listing her pick of fresh new TV formats.

According to Wit’s data, “The Masked Singer” was this year’s most adapted format, and the masked star concept has been adopted by a slew of similar shows.

Three are being distributed by Banijay Rights and hail from Germany, a territory, Mouseler noted, that was able to resume production quite soon after lockdown.

The first, “Star in the Star,” involves hiding six celebrities behind a mask of special effects and make up to transform them into the music legends they’ve always admired, while viewers and celebrity panellists guess the famous person behind the famous person.

A soundproof dome acts as the “mask” in “Famemaker,” which launched last week on ProSieben, as three jury members judge contestants based on their performance, dancing and overall appearance  – they cannot hear their voices.

“I Got You Babe,” meanwhile, is a more straight-forward studio talent show featuring celebrities singing duets with puppets voiced by professional singers.

Survival formats

According to The Wit, survival-type shows featured among some of the most adapted formats this year, with “Big Brother,” “The Circle” and “Celebrity Masterchef” all featuring in the top four.

Mouseler noted that formats which show how we survive illness are also a reoccurring theme. Factual entertainment show “A Real Job: Nurses,” which ran on VTM in Belgium last month, features five celebrities who undertake a nursing internship for three weeks.

Another show about surviving with a strong emotional punch is Dutch series “The 100,” which first launched this summer on NPO1, and follows the trials and tribulations of 100 patients waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

Both of these medical-based formats are being sold via Newen Distribution.

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“A Real Job: Nurses” De Mensen

Financial survival also features heavily across the international formats landscape.  On a macro level there’s “Financial Survival – Quitting Benefits” (Banijay Rights), which is a big social experiment.

The show, which launched on RTL2 in Germany, challenges three families living off benefits to start a new life: They are given jobs, €10,000 ($11,787) in savings and the financial guidance of experts – but will this be enough to ensure they become financially independent?

Another NPO1 show, “Where Does the Money Go?,” is more focused on the monthly budgets of a wide variety of different families across different socio-economic groups.

Social survival, meanwhile, is the theme of “Fight School” (Banijay Rights), a docu-series set to launch on BBC2 next year. It’s fronted by “Luther” star Idris Elba who sets up a boxing academy in East London to mentor a group of young people in a bid to steer them away from a life of crime.

Pet sounds

Other shows deemed worthy of selection appear to have been designed for a locked down world: these included “Celebrity Snoop Pets,” another U.K. format, which can be best described as a canine spin on “MTV Cribs.”  Broadcast on Channel 4 in the early summer while Brits still faced lockdown restrictions, celebrity-owned pooches are fitted with cameras to give viewers a pet’s eye view of their famous owner’s home.

Mouseler’s dog, who joined her on the session, was heard barking his approval in the background.

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Virginia Mouseler – Fresh TV Formats Session