Lythgoe taking “Secret Fortune” to America

The American Idol exec producer and co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance is bringing the Wild Rover Productions format to the U.S.
February 14, 2011

Entertainment producer extraordinaire Nigel Lythgoe is bringing a new game show format created by Belfast-based Wild Rover Productions to the U.S.

The American Idol exec producer and co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance secured the U.S. rights for Secret Fortune from UK-based distributor DRG and Wild Rover, who produced the version which debuted in the UK on BBC One this past Saturday. The program grabbed a #1 slot, achieving a peak share of 27.4% and 6.6 million viewers.

In Secret Fortune, contestants are given 24 sealed envelopes that each contain a cheque ranging between “a tiny amount to a life-changing sum.” During the game, 23 of those envelopes are destroyed as contestants answer multiple choice questions. The one envelope that remains contains the contestants’ “secret fortune.”

The U.S. deal was packaged by ICM and brokered for DRG by DRG America president Kary McHoul. “Nigel is a world leader and expert in the production of formatted programming and we’re all incredibly excited to be announcing Secret Fortune USA,” said McHoul in a statement. “Today’s deal underlines our mission for bringing the very best and most original European formats to U.S. producers.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Nigel Lythgoe in the U.S.,” added Wild Rover managing director Phil Morrow. “He’s the best studio entertainment producer in the world.” This is Wild Rover’s second major format deal in the U.S., following the news that Jerry Bruckheimer and Bertram van Munster were adapting Catch Me as Take the Money and Run for ABC.

For his part, Lythgoe called the format “a beautifully constructed quiz show.”

The title is also the first to launch out of DRG’s recently-created strategy to co-fund format pilots with broadcasters. “This enables us to take the highest quality example of the format to our international partners and immediately begin building the show into a global brand, a significant revenue stream for our producer partners,” said Andrea Jackson, managing director of acquisitions at DRG.

In December, the title was licensed to assorted producers across Europe, with deals struck in Italy, Spain and Holland.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.