Change was in the air at Mipcom this week as Virginia Mouseler, CEO of TV research firm The Wit, chose “transition” as her overarching theme as she surveyed the content shifts in TV formats.
New dating formats are deviating from the norm with shows like “Kinky Daters” from MGM, a British show that explores the fetish world, and Fremantle’s German production “The Love Triangle,” which invites couples to become a threesome.
BBC Studios combines two genres in one show with “I Like the Way U Move,” a British format that blends a dating show with a dance contest for two single people, with the twist that contestants are looking for love. “It’s not just about the performance, it’s about the chemistry,” explains one of the judges.
Another dating show with a twist is “Tiny House for Big Love,” a French format from Banijay Rights in which singletons must live together in a very small house on wheels to test their compatibility, while on a road trip. “There’s nothing like sharing a small space for testing a relationship,” the voiceover on the trailer says.
A similar proposition is offered in MediaRanch’s “Love Van” from Canada: Here a lonesome lover travels across country in a van, picking up hitchhikers, and must decide if their guest can sleep in the van or in a tent. “All roads lead to love,” a honeyed voice tells us.
Trapdoors are the chosen method by which losing contestants are removed from two new dating shows: From All3Media Intl. comes U.K. show “The Love Trap,” where a contestant has to figure out which of the suitors is truly in pursuit of love, and who is in it for the money. In Germany’s “Date or Drop,” another show from All3Media, singles get to hear everything about their potential dates, but have no idea who said what.
Meanwhile, Banijay Rights’ Swedish show “Sexy Hands” puts a new spin on the dating format by only having deaf contestants, signing off with the question: “Will it be love at first sign?”
The trend for scaled-down settings is found in other format genres. In 3BMG Intl.’s “Tiny House Battles,” from the Netherlands, amateur builders compete to construct tiny homes in seven days for a client. There is also “My Tiny Restaurant” from Belgium, cooked up by RTBF, in which a very small restaurant has to be designed to a restaurant owner’s specifications.
Technology comes to the fore in a number of talent shows, such as “Alter Ego,” in which an amateur gets a “last chance to realize their dream.” They do the singing, but a CGI avatar – presenting an idealized version of who they’d like to be – does the performing on stage. One of the contestants in the U.S. format from Propagate Content says: “It’s the chance to be the artist I’ve always dreamed of being.”
Dutch show “Avastars” from Talpa Distribution takes one talented dancer and one talented singer and combines them using technology to become “one virtual supertalent.”
Meanwhile, Banijay Rights’ “Starstruck” from the U.K. offers a more conventional concept: three competitors must impersonate the same singing star on stage at the same time. The star judges then pick one.
An Israeli show that encourages participants to face their fears is part of a trend for confessional television. “No More Secrets” from Armoza Formats asks people to “make peace with their secrets” and “say it out loud.” The show ends with an “inner reveal” in order to “let your truth free.” In one episode, for example, a woman must find the courage to tell her parents that she is in a relationship with another woman.
The popularity for shows that offer a fresh start for folk is seen in Dutch format “New Job Blind Contract,” represented by Stepping Stone. In the show an unhappy employee puts their life in the hands of life coaches. The participant must resign from their job and take a new role – without knowing what it is beforehand – that the coaches have found for them, and stick with it for six months.