International indie distributor Lineup Industries and Sydney-based TV prodco Lune Media have been commissioned by Australian commercial broadcaster Network TEN for a local version of Panenka’s human interest format Taboo.
In each episode, a comedian tackles a subject deemed a social taboo, testing the boundaries of comedy and good taste. The twist is that the comedians work with the communities impacted by the subjects typically deemed off limits as sources of humor. Taboos include blindness, obesity and various physical disabilities, and the people who work with the comedian are present for their set.
Each comedian will spend a week living with four people impacted by the episode’s subject. During that time, they’ll learn, sometimes challenging or reinforcing their own prejudices in the lead up to their comedy routine.
Taboo was originally created for Belgian pubcaster VRT. Rights to the series have been picked up in more than 15 territories, including by Wall to Wall in the UK, Kinetic in the U.S., Warner in Sweden, Gil Productions in Israel, Floresta/Sony Pictures in Brasil and El Terrat in Spain.
The Australian commission comes after a highly successful pilot episode fronted by comedian Harley Breen, which aired as part of Network TEN’s Pilot Week.
“This is a unique format that holds a mirror to society and provides a compelling insight into life with disabilities, in a sensitive yet humorous way,” said Julian Curtis, co-founder of Lineup, in a statement. “The Australian pilot had an incredible response and we’re delighted that Network TEN has committed to more Taboo. With further commissions in the pipeline, we look forward to introducing new audiences to this thought-provoking and highly original concept which inspires both laughter and tears.”
Lune Media will produce the new local version, set to debut in 2019.