How Canada’s Boxing Cats produced a Swedish hit

With a second season renewal from SVT Sweden, Boxing Cats president Brad Brough (pictured) explains how Canada's Greatest Know-It-All found success in Europe.
December 16, 2014

At a time when it is increasingly difficult to get original formats off the ground in Canada, Toronto-based Boxing Cats Productions has found a ratings hit in Sweden with its format original format Know-It-All.

The original version of the format, Canada’s Greatest Know-it-All, originally aired on Discovery Canada for two seasons over 2012 and 2013, with a total average audience of one million viewers for season one and 800,000 for season two (repeats included). Season one was developed and produced by both Cream Productions and Boxing Cats, while Boxing Cats produced season two solo.

While Discovery had the original distribution rights for the series, the producers and the broadcaster wanted to take Know-It-All international, explains Brad Brough (pictured above), president of Boxing Cats Productions. The parties collectively decided to seek out a third party distributor that specialized in international reality/competition series and formats, he added.

A deal was eventually closed with London-based distributor DRG with the goal of getting the format into the European market.

“They make series very efficiently and aren’t scared of new ideas, so we thought that would be a good place to start and see if we can get some traction there,” Brough told realscreen‘s sister publication Playback Daily.

DRG sold the European format rights to Swedish television production company Strix. SVT, Sweden’s largest television network, then picked up the format for four one-hour episodes. Once Strix received the greenlight for production, Brough flew over to Sweden to act as a format consultant on the series.

Genikampen (the Swedish name for the format) premiered on September 21 at 8 p.m. and brought in more than one million total viewers – a feat in a country with a total population of nine million. The premiere garnered a 28.6% share of the Swedish television audience in its timeslot, and won the 15- to 49-year-old demo, according to Boxing Cats. The success has led SVT to greenlight a second season of the show.

Producer Strix also has confidence in the format. The prodco is currently discussing setting up a production hub in Sweden to produce versions of the format for other European broadcasters.

“I think the reason it will travel well is because it has an international theme – people who think they are smarter than the person next to them. There are know-it-alls all across this planet,” Brough says.

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.