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Asian Side 2012: AXN to explore “lighthearted” docs

Sony Pictures Networks Asia's AXN Asia channel is to explore moving into the realm of "lighthearted documentaries," Sony Pictures' senior director of production Derek Wong (pictured) told delegates at the third annual Asian Side of the Doc conference in Tokyo.
March 21, 2012

Sony Pictures Networks Asia’s AXN Asia channel is to explore moving into the realm of “lighthearted documentaries,” Sony Pictures’ senior director of production Derek Wong (pictured) told delegates at the third annual Asian Side of the Doc in Tokyo.

AXN Asia, which launched in 1997, currently airs Asian versions of entertainment and fact ent formats, such as The Amazing Race and Cash Cab. It also has original commissions, such as Cyril Simply Magic.

However, talking on a “Coming Together, Asia to Asia” panel session at Asian Side, Wong said: “We’re now starting to explore doing some lighthearted documentaries in the future, that’s mainly why I’m here. At the moment, as you can see, we mostly do general entertainment shows and game shows.”

He added that there is “no fixed formula” for how shows can come in, with finished programming acquisitions, format acquisitions and original commissions all on the table for the network. With The Amazing Race, for example, the network acquired the finished U.S. version before buying the format rights to make an Asian version.

As such, Wong warns that pitches should be for fresh, original ideas, and not for knock-offs.

“One thing I can share is if we receive a pitch and the first few lines say, ‘This show is going to be The Amazing Race meets Fear Factor,’ we won’t look at it anymore,” he says.

“The idea has to be original rather than copying formats from others, because we can just buy the original shows for that.”

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