The MIPCOM 2015 Shopper’s Guide, part one

As the world's producers, distributors, and harried journalists prepare to descend upon the French Riviera for the 31st annual MIPCOM market in Cannes, realscreen presents the first installment of our round-up of non-fiction and unscripted titles heading to the Croisette.
October 1, 2015

As the world’s producers, distributors, and harried journalists prepare to descend upon the French Riviera for the 31st annual MIPCOM market in Cannes, realscreen presents a round-up of non-fiction titles heading to the Croisette. For selections from our editorial team, check out our 2015 MIPCOM Picks.

Armoza Formats

The Israeli formats developer is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary and brings to Cannes a slate of three unscripted formats focused on “new experiences, emotions and authenticity,” according to CEO Avi Armoza.

Double or Nothing

Double or Nothing

The Virgins (60 minutes) is a docu-reality format that presents the stories behind life-changing experiences, such as the first time seeing, flying and “feeling whole.” The program was originally commissioned by Israel’s Channel 10 and each episode chronicles three people from different walks of life.

Other formats include Live From My Home (30 minutes), a daily stripped reality singing competition show where each week four people who love to sing – whether it’s solo or in a band – will compete to win. Each day a contestant will select their house-bound location, set up the stage and rehearse in preparation for their final performance, which will be evaluated by their fellow artists.

Also travelling to Cannes, as previously reported, is the Studio Glam-developed Double or Nothing (60 minutes), which sees a pair of contestants take on a variety of crazy challenges to win money. The format has already been acquired by Germany’s Tresor TV Produktions.

BBC Worldwide

As part of its slate, BBC Worldwide brings two new factual entertainment titles to Cannes this fall: The Big Catch and Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week.

The six-part program The Big Catch was created by Samantha Beddoes (The Great British Bake Off) and Tim Martin (Natural WorldAtlantic) and is produced by the BBC’s Natural History Unit. The series sees eight enthusiasts compete in a grand fishing contest in a journey that takes them to some of the world’s most challenging fishing destinations.

Also headed to MIPCOM is the previously reported Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week, which is produced by Rachel Watson (I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here) and presented by ex-professional sports man, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff.

Finally, new Top Gear presenter Chris Evans will also be in Cannes with BBC Worldwide to meet with international buyers. The host replaced Jeremy Clarkson – who will soon star in an Amazon series - back in June.

Blue Ant International 

Toronto-headquartered distributor Blue Ant International is bringing 150 new hours of unscripted programming to the Croisette, with 40 hours of native 4K content.

The company’s 4K titles at the French market include Seasons of the Wild (2 x 60 minutes), on the unique ecosystem of Florida’s Everglades; Great Blue Wild (6 x 60 minutes), about the world’s greatest dive shops and the experts on staff; Land of Gremlins (3 x 60 minutes), on Madagascar’s rare species; and Mysteries of Evolution (6 x 30 minutes), about nature’s “toughest questions.”

Elsewhere, new HD series that are being launched at MIPCOM are Murder U (6 x 60 minutes), about grisly university-based crimes; Endless Yard Sale Showdown (8 x 60 minutes), on yard sale bargain hunters; Kitty 911 (10 x 30 minutes), about a cat sanctuary that rescues abandoned cats and kittens; and Knock Knock Ghost (6 x 60 minutes), which follows comedian Richard Ryder and his ghost-hunting team.

Cineflix Rights

The UK distributor will hit Cannes once again with about 300 hours of new content across a wide range of genres. Leading the pack is The Day Hitler Died (1 x 60 minutes), a Finestripe Productions-made one-off for ITV and Smithsonian Networks that traces the dictator’s last days through eyewitness interviews and archive footage.

Other titles include American Lawmen (8 x 60 minutes, Cineflix Productions for American Heroes Channel), which chronicles the birth of law enforcement in America; Last Hope with Troy Dunn (10 x 30 minutes, DunnDeal Studios for Up Entertainment) which finds missing persons expert Troy Dunn unraveling the mysteries behind disappeared loved ones; and Killer Confessions (4 x 60 minutes, LMNO Productions for Investigation Discovery), on true confessions that reveal the motives of killers.

Finally, Cineflix is bringing Vegas 911 (6 x 60 minutes, Cineflix Productions for Discovery Life) to Cannes. The series goes inside one of America’s busiest and most unique emergency rooms and provides an inside look into the grittier side of the glitzy destination.

Space Shuttle: Flying for Me

Space Shuttle: Flying for Me

CMJ Distribution

The distribution arm of Montreal-based indie CMJ Productions is set to license its latest acquisition, The Space Shuttle: Flying for Me, to buyers for the first time.

The one-off is billed as a “tribute to the exploration of space, the evolution of technology, and the thrill of human space flight” and features such record-setting astronauts as Jerry Ross (tied for seven Shuttle missions), Rhea Seddon (one of the first women astronauts and recent inductee into the Astronaut Hall of Fame), and Michael Lopez-Alegria (American record for spacewalks), who share their experiences and perspectives on the 30-year Shuttle program.

The doc also features appearances and interviews with NASA’s Glynn Lunney, Milt Heflin and Bob Thompson, as well as NASA administrator Charles Bolden.


London-headquartered distributor DRG recently picked up the international rights to the forthcoming BBC comedy series Tracey Ullman’s Show, which it will launch at MIPCOM.

The 6 x 30-minute series sees the British sketch comedian return to UK screens for current affairs comedy and impressions. According to DRG, the program will feature celebrity impressions along with returning comedy characters Ullman is famed for, as well as the introduction of new characters.

Other titles headed to the market include reality house-hunting series Honey I Bought the House, which was originally commissioned by UKTV for entertainment channel Watch and produced by Objective Productions and Crook Productions. The 9 x 45-minute program finds one half of a couple finding a home and putting an offer down without their partner’s help.

Finally, DRG has acquired Supersized, a 6 x 60-minute series that looks at growing rates of obesity within Great Britain and the country’s problems with over-consumption. The show currently airs on Cooking Channel and is produced by ITN Productions.

Electus International 

The multimedia studio brings to Cannes a diverse slate of programming, including both original series from Electus as well as acquisitions from third-party producers.

Labor Games

Labor Games

Among the offerings is the relationship-focused game show Separation Anxiety (14 x 60 minutes for TBS), which finds one half of a couple thinking they are playing a small Internet game for a paltry sum, while their significant other – along with the host and audience – knows that it’s for US$250,000.

Also headed to Cannes is the half-sketch and half-prank show Fameless (8 x 60 minutes for truTV), in which a group of wannabe stars are led to believe they’ve been cast in an actual reality show by a group of improv actors; as well as home renovation show Home Free (8 x 60 minutes for Fox), in which Mike Holmes helps nine couples compete for the chance to win their dream home.

Remaining new titles include the competition series Twinning (11 x 60 minutes for VH1), in which 12 sets of twins compete for a grand prize, and Labor Games (12 x 30 minutes for TLC), which gives couples in labor the opportunity to win prizes for their new baby.

Endemol Shine Group

The global content creator, producer and distributor is at MIPCOM with formats from the UK, Australia, France and Israel.

From Endemol Shine UK comes the reality thriller Hunted, which premiered in September on British pubcaster Channel 4. The series sees groups of ordinary people become targets of a national manhunt and go on the run, with a team of top investigators looking to track them down.

Meanwhile, Endemol Shine Australia’s family entertainment series Spelling Star is also headed to Cannes. The program finds young spelling whizzes angling for the champion speller crown.

From Shine France is Big Music Quiz, a test of musical knowledge in which teams of celebrities compete in an “entertainment extravaganza.” The program launched in July on TF1.

Endemol Shine Israel offers the game show Fast Cash, where 50 cash machines are ready to dispense large amounts of money that contestants can only win by solving visual clues.

Elsewhere, premium content net Endemol Beyond is at MIPCOM with digital formats that can be adapted for both online and traditional TV platforms.

Titles include Icon, a global lifestyle channel creatively led by digital superstar Michelle Phan, which is set to be adapted in 11 territories following launches in the U.S and UK earlier this year. Also headlining Endemol Beyond’s slate is Legends of Gaming, in which up-and-coming and veteran YouTube stars battle it out in a nationwide tournament to find the ultimate gamer. The program originated in the UK and is now being adapted in Germany, Brazil, France and the U.S.

Fox International Channels (FIC)

The global distributor’s content sales division is this year adding a slate of original formats developed at FIC to its MIPCOM-bound catalog.

Lucky Ladies

Lucky Ladies

Newly launched formats include the Lucky Ladies franchise, which was initially produced in Mexico, and has since been shipped off to Brazil, Italy and Argentina. The docu-soap format chronicles the lives of a diverse group of women who enjoy similar lifestyles. According to FIC, “Each series is uniquely defined by the women at its core, and each inhabits a distinct world with characters and passions that resonate forcefully in that market.”

Meanwhile, competitive reality format School for Husbands is already in its second season of production in Mexico and inaugural seasons are underway in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The format focuses on troubled relationships and finds male partners going through a “rehabilitation” each week to become the men the women married.

Finally, F***ing Telemarketers is a mockumentary-style workplace comedy crossed with a docu-soap format that captures the interactions between telemarketers and their bosses. “This new format offers viewers an intimate and surprising look at the people you dread whenever the phone rings,” says FIC in a release.

FremantleMedia International

The global distributor brings a diverse slate led by the music reality competition La Banda, which was developed by Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, Saban Brands and Univision Network.

Other titles include the game show The Eureka Moment from Blue Circle, in which two couples test their popular science knowledge and perform stunts and wacky chemistry experiments in a bid to win a luxury holiday; as well as the fast-paced retro video game-inspired game show format Rebound from Thames, which finds two contenders trying to avoid a ‘Moving Bar’ that could eliminate them from the game.

Also heading to Cannes is the UFA Show and Factual-developed quiz show, Who Knew? The show – which works both stripped across the week or in a primetime slot – features an array of unusual questions that unveil crazy facts from daily life, scientific studies and practical hints and tips.

Keshet International

The Israeli distributor is offering a number of factual formats.

Kicking off the slate is variety and game show fusion Who’s On Top?, a co-development between Keshet Broadcasting and Flare Media International. The entertainment format finds three contestants suspended in “air pods” – which are scaling in-studio towers five stories high – faced with trivia questions that can only be answered with either “more” or “less” or “true” or “false.”

If answered correctly, the contestant’s air pod ascends to the next level of the tower, all the while accumulating money as it goes. However, if they are wrong, they fall down to the basement level, and so the goal is to always stay on top. The format is produced by Flare Productions and July August Productions. It was created by Erez Tal and will soon launch in primetime on Keshet Broadcasting.

The company’s other offerings include Keshet Productions UK’s original workplace dating show When Do You Get Off? (10 x 45-minute series, format available). The show – which will soon air on ITVBe – sees one worker date four potential suitors at their workplace to learn what they might really be like as a partner. After a full day of dating each one on the job, they’ll decide who they like best and go out again after work.  

Also headed to MIPCOM is the prank show format Knockout, in which celebrities try to out-prank one another.

Tricon Films & Television

The Toronto-headquartered distributor will be at this year’s market with the factual series On the Record with Mick Rock (6 x 30 minutes), in which the iconic rock photographer visits the homes of celebrity guests such as Josh Groban, Kings of Leon, The Flaming Lips and Patti LaBelle.

Meanwhile, Rock Icons (10 x 30 minutes) is a music biography series profiling such iconic rock stars as Geddy Lee, Rob Halford, Ted Nugent, Ann Wilson and Dave Mustaine. Each episode – which includes rare archival footage and photos – includes exclusive interviews with the featured artist and those who helped shape their career.

Finally, the company’s slate will be topped by new HD automotive series from Tricon’s distribution partnership with U.S. producer RTM Productions. These titles include Xtreme 4×4 (68 SD x 30 minutes; 126 HD x 30 minutes); Muscle Car (46 SD x 30 minutes, 126 HD x 30 minutes), Horsepower (196 SD x 30 minutes, 126 HD x 30 minutes); Search and Restore (48 HD x 30 minutes); and Trucks (196 SD x 30 minutes, 126 HD x 30 minutes).

Monte Bianco

Monte Bianco

Zodiak Rights

Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White hits Cannes with Zodiak Rights’ Humble Pie, which finds four cooks creating three dishes against the clock and vying for a cash prize while critiquing one another’s dishes. The 6 x 60-minute program is produced by Fizz and debut on UKTV-owned channel Watch this month.

Elsewhere, the distributor is bringing the adventure reality format Monte Bianco, which pairs eight celebrities with eight professional alpine guides, competing in three challenges per episode. The format – available in 60, 90 and 120 minutes – is produced by Magnolia Italy and ALP for Rai 2 and launches in November.

Also going to MIPCOM is the stripped dating format Undressed, in which couples meeting for the first time have just 30 minutes to get acquainted by undressing each other and taking part in various compatibility tests. The program launches next spring on Deejay TV in Italy.

Finally, reality format Bikini Island heads to France from Mastiff Denmark and Viasat for TV3. The stripped format sees 12 contestants divided into two groups on a pair of paradise islands connected by a bridge. Each week, the camp with the least people must eliminate someone by anonymous vote, and in the final week, a cash prize looks to break the strongest alliances.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.