In his first Edinburgh International Television Festival appearance, Netflix’s VP of unscripted originals and acquisitions Brandon Riegg charted his vision for the digital streaming giant as it continues to expand its factual slate.
The Thursday (Aug. 23) afternoon keynote – moderated by Liberty Media Corporation board member Andrea Wong – discussed how the SVOD service is increasingly working with European producers to create a handful of forthcoming series, including a new cooking format from the producers of MasterChef.
Produced by The Old School and premiering later this year, the cookery format will feature 24 world-renowned chefs pairing off in teams of two to master the national dishes of nine countries. Episodes will focus on a different country and its cuisine, with celebrity ambassadors, food critics and that country’s greatest chef eliminating teams until the finale. The series will be presented by Bon Appétit editor-at-large Andrew Knowlton.
Featured in the series will be acclaimed chefs Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (U.S.), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Anne-Sophie Pic (France).
“We knew that food and cooking was a strong category and we wanted to take bold swing,” Riegg told the Edinburgh audience. “Having [Michelin-starred] chefs in competition was something very new.”
Elsewhere, James Corden’s Fulwell 73 is gearing up to launch the football-frenzy docuseries Sunderland Till I Die, which focuses on the professional English football club Sunderland AFC and its passionate fanbase.
“There was something about the Sunderland story that touched on human and emotional elements that transcend language, culture and geography,” Riegg explained.”We’re looking for ways to bring those stories to life.”
Debuting Dec. 14, Sunderland Till I Die will take audiences through the highs and lows of SAFC’s first season in the Championship following its relegation from the English Premier League – England’s top flight – the previous year. Fulwell 73′s Leo Pearlman and Ben Turner are exec producers.
Riegg also spotlighted Death by Magic, which stars British magician Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC) and follows the performer on a globetrotting journey to recreate the most death-defying stunts where others have failed. From being buried alive under wet concrete to escaping from a collision with a speeding train, the series sets out to determine what went wrong with these past fatal performances while DMC sets out to pay homage to the craft by creating his own updated versions of the stunts.
“Drummond Money-Coutts came to us with a really unique concept of doing a global version of a magic show,” said Riegg, adding that the series will launch globally across the digital platformlater this year. “There was a narrative to it, he wanted to explore the story of infamous tricks where things had gone wrong and the magician had died from [the performance].”
Also joining the slate are action-comedy game show Flinch from Stellify Media, where contestants test their nerve against three fiendish games and, should they flinch, are rewarded with painful consequences; and illusionist special Derren Brown: Sacrifice from Vaudeville Productions, in which the celebrated psychological illusionist attempts to radically transform, through the use of covert psychological techniques, one man’s prejudices.
Ben Jessop is showrunner on Derren Brown: Sacrifice, with Andrew O’Connor as executive producer.
Both programs will premiere later this year, Riegg said.