Amidst a brewing legal battle, independent content creator Banijay Group’s interactive, studio-based entertainment show All Against 1 has been commissioned for a second season by Denmark’s DR1 following its launch on the pubcaster in May.
The format pits a single contestant against an entire nation, with the contestant asked the same questions as viewers at home, the answers for which are based on the outcome of a variety of unique and outlandish experiments, ranging from everyday science to crazy sports dares or spectacular stunts.
The contestant answers alone, while the average of viewers’ responses made via an app determine the nations’ collective answer. Whoever answers closest banks the money at stake, but the only way to win the jackpot is to be closest to the answer for the final question.
A new local version of the 60-minute format, which is jointly owned by Nordisk Film TV Denmark, Nordisk Film TV Norway and Norwegian pubcaster NRK, has also been commissioned in Finland by Nelonen, and a 90-minute version is currently being developed for Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. Banijay is also in advanced negotiations with broadcaster Sat 1 to produce the format in Germany.
The commissions come amid an ongoing dispute between Banijay and Israeli prodco Abot Hameiri concerning All Against 1 and Abot’s unscripted format Best of All.
In an Oct. 17 statement issued during MIPCOM 2016 by lawyer Jonathan Coad, Fremantle Media-owned Abot accused Banijay of poaching All Against 1 from an idea Abot pitched to Banijay under the title Are You Smarter than the Crowd during MIPTV in 2014.
In response, Banijay issued a statement strongly denying the claims and said it was considering whether Abot’s Best of All in fact steals ideas from All Against 1. It also accused Abot of timing its claims to “cause maximum disruption to our sales efforts at MIPCOM.”
Abot said it had tried several times over a period of five weeks in the run up to MIPCOM to get an explanation from Banijay of how so many elements of the program it pitched to Banijay have appeared in its All Against 1 format. When no response was received, it instructed its lawyers to prepare formal court documents to start legal proceedings against Banijay in the UK for breach of copyright and breach of confidence.
To date, no formal legal documents have been filed.
Banijay explained in its statement that All Against 1 sprung from its King of Chess format, which was originally developed for TV2′s Format Lab in 2013. It was later presented to NRK and aired in November 2014 on the Norwegian pubcaster. The company added that there are a number of other derivative entertainment formats from all over the world available that use similar but not the same mechanisms.
In announcing the new commissions this week, NRK commissioning editor Pia Basberg also said All Against 1 arose from King of Chess.
“After our successful event show King of Chess in 2014, we challenged Nordisk Film & TV to make a broader entertainment show. In All Against 1 we really have a great take on a weekend primetime show, which appeals to a broad audience, in particular capturing the attention of the hard-to-please youth audience through the use of the app, which allows everyone to play along at home,” Basberg said.
Coad is a partner at London-based Lewis Silkin LLP. He represented Love Productions in its format claim against the BBC regarding the Great British Bake Off format.