BBC’s “Mastermind” returns to NZ, BBC Earth heads to India

New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ is bringing back the game show Mastermind following a 20-year hiatus, while BBC Worldwide has inked a JV with Sony-backed Multi Screen Media to launch BBC Earth in India. (Pictured: Mastermind host Peter Williams)
September 16, 2015

New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ is bringing back the iconic game show Mastermind after 20 years off the air.

BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand (BBCWW ANZ) has sold the quiz show format into the territory, where Warner Brothers International Television Production New Zealand is to produce a local version of the program for TVNZ-owned channel TV One, set to air next year.

Long-serving TV One journalist Peter Williams (pictured) is to host the show, which sees contestants sit in a spotlight while answering tough questions on specialist subjects and general knowledge, in addition to a newly-instated round of New Zealand-centric questions.

Mastermind has aired in the UK for more than 40 years over 42 series, and has also been commissioned in seven other countries, including India, Israel and Russia.

In other news, BBC Worldwide has formed a JV with the Sony-backed Multi Screen Media (MSM) to bring premium factual channel BBC Earth to India.

As previously reported, the two parties in April formed a strategic partnership. A BBCWW spokesperson tells realscreen that a JV has now been formally signed between the companies, with MSM owning a majority stake.

MSM runs the Sony network of TV channels in India and operates and distributes several channels. The Indian iteration of the channel is to be called ‘Sony BBC Earth’ and will be broadcast in HD, in addition to being available in Tamil, English and Hindi across the country.

A BBCWW spokesperson added that the channel is expected to launch early next year.

According to BBCWW, “Both the formation of the JV as well as the launch of Sony BBC Earth is subject to necessary regulatory approvals in India,” with the process currently underway.

NP Singh, CEO of MSM, says the company is “putting together a whole new team to scale-up” the JV with BBC Worldwide. The team is to handle the programming, marketing, operations as well as sales and distribution of the channel in India.

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