by Peter White
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! creator Natalka Znak believes that the “cross-pollination” of UK and US formats will lead to the next wave of non-scripted hits on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sky Vision-backed Znak & Co, founded in 2014, is adapting a number of US formats with British broadcasters and vice-versa, as well as developing original projects in both countries.
Last week, it optioned US competition format The Toy Box from Electus International for a UK remake. The show, which airs on US network ABC, challenges designers to create new toys in partnership with manufacturer Mattel, which are then tested by a panel of child judges.
Znak & Co is also in talks with lifestyle channel TLC UK over a remake of controversial social experiment Dating Naked.
The Discovery-owned broadcaster already airs the US series in the UK and is considering a local version of the show, in which a man and a woman are whisked away to a tropical resort to date a series of naked singletons.
Znak said: “We’re taking lots of formats to and from the US and the UK. Buyers are always interested in what’s happening in each market and to have that crosspollination helps all broadcasters [find a hit].”
For example, the indie is producing Lizard Lick Towing spin-off Ronnie’s Redneck Roadtrip for Dave. The 10 x 30-minute factual entertainment series brings North Carolina repo man Ronnie Shirley to the UK to secure classic British cars for his US clients.
The LA and London-based indie is also working with The Voice star Will.i.am on a number of UK projects.
It is currently pitching music series Superdope to broadcasters after filming a pilot episode in the Black Eyed Peas star’s office. Znak described it as “The Apprentice set in the music business”.
In the US, the indie is making a yet-to-be-announced gameshow for multichannel network Fullscreen, the joint venture between US telco AT&T and former Fox chief Peter Chernin.
Znak said that although it is producing episodes of 10 minutes rather than 30 or 60 for digital platforms, the budgets are healthy. “It’s the future of TV, apparently.
In the US, we’re pitching to Apple, Amazon and Netflix, which are now open for business in every genre of non-scripted, which is exciting for producers like us,” she added.
Znak promoted several members of her senior team this month following the departure of co-founder Simon Jones, who left to join GroupM Entertainment.
Former Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model producer Marnie Sirota was promoted to senior vice-president of operations, while executive producer Glenn Coomber became head of entertainment. Giles Freeman was promoted to head of development.
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