Fort Boyard storms across Europe; briefs

Zodiak Entertainment Distribution's Fort Boyard format is returning to Germany after a 10-year absence, with nine episodes set to air on ProSiebenSat.1 Group's kabel eins in primetime.
October 1, 2010

Zodiak Entertainment Distribution’s Fort Boyard format is returning to Germany after a 10-year absence, with nine episodes set to air on ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s kabel eins in primetime. Format creators ALP in France and Tresor TV will coproduce the German version.

‘There are few formats that can stand the test of time, but Fort Boyard is one that we’re certain will have strong appeal, both to those viewers who know the show well, and also to those that are completely new to the incredible roller coaster of emotions it delivers,’ said Axel Stegmaier, vice president scripted reality at kabel eins. The format has been experiencing a European resurgence; Germany is the seventh country to commission an international version of Fort Boyard in 2010, and Finland is getting its first version of the show via broadcaster SuomiTV.

The format, created by Jacques Antoine and Adventure Line Productions, places contestants on the fort originally built by Napoleon in the 19th century, just off the west coast of France, where they take part in assorted challenges that ultimately lead them to the fort’s gold. Some versions of the format feature celebrity contestants, such as Eva Longoria, who appeared last year with beau Tony Parker as the series celebrated its 20th anniversary on France 2 in 2009. Shooting at the location can only take place during spring and summer of each year, and Zodiak Entertainment says broadcasters in Brazil and Tunisia have signed on for 2011.

Fort Boyard returned to Sweden in August following a six-year hiatus, pulling in average audiences of 1.7 million viewers for its first two episodes on TV4 (or just over 18% of the Swedish population). Since its launch 20 years ago, more than 1,500 episodes of Fort Boyard have been produced for 30 countries with the finished series being sold on to broadcasters in more than 20 countries. Interestingly, the format has never progressed past the pilot stage in the U.S.

In Brief

Armoza Formats’ game show format The Bubble has been snapped up by Lithuania’s Rytas TV for a full season of 60 episodes. The Lithuanian version will air from Monday to Thursday over a period of 15 weeks beginning September 27, making it the first daily iteration of the show. The format takes three contestants and isolates them for one week, depriving them of any contact with the outside world including television, phones or Internet. They’re then brought back to the studio and quizzed on what happened during their isolation. So far in 2010, the format has debuted on the UK’s BBC2, Sweden’s SVT, and Holland’s BNN/NED3…

Scandinavian format producer Babyfoot, the company behind I Survived a Japanese Game Show and current TV2 Denmark primetime hit Bingo Banko, has signed a first look development deal with ITV Studios. As part of the deal, ITV Studios will have first look rights to develop and produce local versions of Babyfoot’s new format concepts. The multi-year deal excludes Scandinavia. ‘The deal throws the door wide open for us to work with some of the best and brightest in format development and production,’ says Babyfoot managing director David Sidebotham, while ITV Studios’ creative director John Whiston says the format shop ‘is behind some of the wildest and funkiest ideas around at the moment. Combine that with our expertise in development and production and who knows what wonderful TV will come out of this innovative collaboration.’…

Cologne/Barcelona-based sales and distribution company ohm:tv’s format The Prettiest Girl in the Class is coming to Spain. Created by Dutch prodco Simpel Media, the Spanish version of the family-friendly, one-hour reality show about the post-graduation exploits of a high-school A-lister is being produced by Magnum Contenido Multimedia (MCM TV) and will air this fall on Valencian public TV station Canal Nou. The format is now in its fourth season in the Netherlands, its first in Italy via FOX Italy and its second in Belgium via VTM.

(With files from Kelly Anderson and Kevin Ritchie)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.