André Renaud on the success of BBC Studios’ scripted formats

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CBS recently issued an order for a full season of Ghosts, a Thursday night comedy adapted from the series of the same name distributed by BBC Studios. Ghosts is just one of many remade BBC shows in markets around the world, and interest in the remake market is accelerating as delays related to Covid-19 are forcing producers, broadcasters and platforms to look for more efficient ways to get scripted content on screens. André Renaud, Senior Vice President of Global Format Sales at BBC Studios, talks to TV formats on what drives the company’s scripted remakes activity.

TV FORMATS: Can you give some examples of shows in your catalog that have been successfully remade in other markets?
RENAUD: The winner of an Emmy Award The night of, with Riz Ahmed, is an adaptation of Criminal justice format, which first aired on the BBC in 2008 and has since been adapted in India for Disney + Hotstar, where it was among the top five dramas of the year across all platforms in 2020. It will soon be adapted in Korea with Studio M.

Doctor Foster is another great example of how strong characters paired with a local storytelling and setting can attract large audiences. The series has already been adapted in Russia, Turkey and France, where it reached 6 million viewers on TF1, and in Korea, where it became the most popular South Korean cable series of all time.

TV FORMATS: What is the global demand for scripted drama formats today?
RENAUD: We’ve seen a huge growth in interest in scripted formats over the past five years and even more over the past 18 months as broadcasters have seen the benefit of reducing development times on stories that already have proven, and local writers and producers have the flexibility to tell the character’s story in a way that resonates with audiences.

We have had particular success in Asia, where Doctor Foster, Sheltered and Mistresses have been adapted in Korea only. We expect this trend to continue as other broadcasters and market platforms recognize the positive response from local audiences. We already have a license Doctor Foster in the Philippines, Criminal justice and The split in Korea, Luther and Guilt in India to come. There is also a strong appetite in the EMEA zone as Doctor Foster found local versions in France, Russia and Turkey and The split in Turkey too. It’s truly a vibrant time for the scripted adaptation.

TV FORMATS: What’s driving interest in dramatic remakes and reboots?
RENAUD: Considering the uncertain times we’ve all just been through, there seems to be a desire for audience familiarity, so instant name or story recognition can be helpful in increasing audiences. But more generally, I think broadcasters are looking to find new ways to reflect society to viewers, whether they want to provoke a discussion, as in Doctor Foster Where Criminal justice, or just to have a little fun, as in Office.

TV FORMATS: What are the keys to a successful drama remake?
RENAUD: It all comes down to the quality of the ideas and, especially for the theater, the authenticity of the characters. At BBC Studios, each of our scripted formats has bold, identifiable characters at heart who can sit comfortably in a whole new environment. Their stories are both specific and universal: a serious crime officer trying not to be consumed by the dark crimes he is investigating or even by the daily activities of people in an office environment.

It is essential for us that the adaptation process is collaborative. We have a dual responsibility to do justice to the original creative work and to be sensitive to making an adaptation that stays true to the original. We work closely with our partners to translate the stories in a way that will resonate best in their own country, whether the local culture may mean a change in a character’s work or home environment, but one. way that does not change the central DNA of the story. For example, our partner in the Philippines on Doctor Foster has thought carefully about how they can showcase Filipino culture and fashion in their side of the story.

TV FORMATS: Do you keep the distribution rights for the remakes?
RENAUD: Balancing the needs of the sponsoring broadcaster in any region with the desire to ensure that as many people as possible around the world see the high quality of production that countries bring to life is often the fine line that everyone walks. . And, as audiences become even more comfortable with programming from various countries around the world, we are still working closely with all of our partners to find the best way to navigate together.

TV FORMATS: What are the challenges and opportunities of distributing multiple versions of the same show?
RENAUD: One of the most rewarding things about distributing formats is seeing how a story can be told and told in different nuances each time. Not only does this provide a glimpse into a culture or community, but it can also often shed new light on the stories themselves and give viewers a chance to rethink or rediscover a part of the story they have. they may have missed it before.

Realizing this needs to be explored in a way that gives everyone the space to allow their own version to shine as well, and that’s why we always want to spend time with our partners to discuss how their own. single version is next to the other versions. around the world.


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