In a crowded marketplace where the streamers are moving more and more into the factual entertainment space and the linear channels are sticking to tried and tested formats, just what is next for unscripted series in the lifestyle genre?
The wonderful reboot of fact-ent format Queer Eye has been credited with the recent move for Netflix to commission more unscripted programming, and this has opened doors for other players, including the linear broadcasters, who are now looking with fresh eyes into lifestyle and its classic sub-genres such as makeover and interiors shows.
For me, there should be a big focus on mid-range formats. As budgets are further squeezed on linear channels, and the streamers are reaching limits, everyone needs the best value for their commissions. These shows are versatile and endlessly useful to have in schedules. They can be scaled up with big name talent and big entertainment if the budget allows, and given their self-contained nature, can be played in any slot, weekly or stripped for linear. And don’t forget the added benefit of providing a great breeding ground for new talent, allowing you to break in new faces and have a soft narrative with the audience.
I can definitely see why these shows are becoming more and more popular — look at the global success of Marie Kondo. It’s wonderful that the streamers have stepped in with such bold and ambitious choices. But at the heart of the show, it is essentially a traditional lifestyle format topic of tidying and de-cluttering, which, along with cleaning, cooking and interiors are all definitely back in vogue right now.
As part of this lifestyle trend we’re seeing a renaissance globally for interiors and property series. This genre fell out of fashion for a while with broadcasters, but viewers never went away. We are intrinsically nosy, and we love to poke around other people’s homes, gossip on how they are renovated and styled and get ideas for our own homes.
New format points are refreshing these shows, especially when it involves tech like the use of virtual reality (VR) in our UK format Your Home Made Perfect. Created by Remarkable Television for the BBC, each episode sees two architects use VR and visual effects to enable people to dream up what their future home could look like, before building it in reality. The VR is a clever format point which transports the viewer into a projected reality – the ‘possible’ – giving the show a modern, fresh feel and I can see this show becoming a VR traveler.
I’m also really excited about our latest eight-part interior design competition show from the UK – a copro between BBC2 and Netflix. Interior Design Masters is a good example of how these formats showcase recognized talent such as Fearne Cotton, partnered with leading interior design and trend consultant Michelle Ogundehin. The series features 10 talented, up and coming designers, each looking to crack the commercial market, taking on new challenges each week from shops, show homes, restaurants or hair salons. They must work their magic and show off their design skills and with a life-changing contract for London’s top hotel up for grabs, the competition is fierce and gripping.
And there will always be home for more localized content on the linear channels such as Masters of Renovation from Endemol Shine Iberia, which tackles large scale renovations in a big game show competition style. This show is more about doing your house up. Rather like the “how to” DIY YouTube shorts, this format gives the viewer at home insight and tips on big renovation projects. In a clever competition reality format you get to learn how to plumb in a bathroom and tile a floor. And instead of you getting it wrong you can watch safely from the comfort of your armchair, feeling pleased with yourself.
Popular reboots have been key to this genre for some time. Sometimes we forget there are just some great shows out there that have already been tried and tested hits.
We’ve got a big relaunch ourselves coming up in the home improvement genre with the perennial favorite Extreme Makeover: Home Edition coming back after a seven-year break in the U.S. Interestingly Sharon Levy from our North American team has signed Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson to host the 10-episode remodel of the format for HGTV. He’s a popular, warmhearted actor who will really play up the feel-good aspect of the show, which — let’s face it — we could all do with right now.
So, I’m settling in for some more great factual and lifestyle series. More poking around other people’s homes, learning how to fold socks, renovating a sink – you name it, I can’t wait. It’s classic, life-affirming television at its best.
Lisa Perrin is CEO of Creative Networks, Endemol Shine Group, a role she was appointed to in March 2015. In this capacity she leads the creative division, focusing on the coordination and acceleration of IP around the group, supporting a network of 120 companies in 22 markets around the world.