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Comedy finalists named for Format Awards

C21 has unveiled the finalists in the Best Comedy Format category in the International Format Awards 2020, which is organised in association with FRAPA, EMC and MipFormats.

The International Format Awards will be presented online this year with a digital event initiative that runs between June 10 and 25, sponsored by All3Media International and ITV Studios. The finalists in each category of the awards will be revealed daily up until June 23, with the event taking place ‘as live’ online on June 25 at 7am PST/10am EST/3pm BST/4pm CET.

In these awards, the comedy category is for unscripted comedies, not sitcoms. These are comedy formats shot in studio or on location that might involve comedy sketches, improv, panels or hidden cameras. These are often confused with quizshows, except in comedies the answers aren’t important – the laughs are the thing.

Finalists in the comedy category in this year’s International Format Awards include six formats from across Europe. From Belgium comes The Way Out, a comedy gameshow in which two celebrity duos are sent into two identical rooms full of mysteries to be solved, with plenty of laughs along the way as they are led, and often misled, towards the way out of the room by the presenters. The family entertainment show debuted on Belgian network VTM last October, produced by Roses Are Blue and distributed internationally by Be-Entertainment.

Austrian gameshow Fact or Fake is also on the list of nominees. Debuting last December on public broadcaster ORF, the show challenges three celebrities to work out if content from the internet, TV, newspapers or social media is true or fake news. It was produced for ORF1 by Vienna-based Sandrats Media Company, which is also distributing the format worldwide.

The four remaining nominees hail from the UK, a country that certainly punches above its weight in the global format industry. ITV2 broadcasts two of them: Hey Tracey!, in which an opinionated but clueless virtual assistant compares a riotous gameshow, and The Stand Up Sketch Show, which turns stand-up routines into sketches.

Hey Tracey! debuted in the UK in June 2019 and is hosted by Joel Dommett and produced by Dr Pluto Films, while The Stand Up Sketch Show aired over two seasons last year and this year, produced by Spirit Media and distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

Also on the list are Netflix’s physical gameshow Flinch, in which contestants must endure various games and challenges without moving, produced by Belfast’s Stellify Media and debuting in May 2019, and Comedians Giving Lectures, in which top comedians give their own unique take on an academic lecture. The show was produced by 12 Yard for Dave last November and is being distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Watch out for the finalists in the Best Competition Reality Format tomorrow on


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