Please wait...
Please wait...

FUNDAMENTALS: The A-Z of Content Funding & Finance

Fox makes child’s play of global formats

France’s TF1 and US broadcast network Fox discuss their collaboration on Beat My Mini-Mes at London TV Screenings.

Tony Vassiliadis

As the first show to hit European TV screens after being backed by Fox’s much-hyped US$100m International Unscripted Format Fund (IUFF), a lot is riding on the fortunes of celebrity competition series Beat My Mini-Mes.

The importance of the glossy show was underlined at London TV Screenings, when senior Fox executives jetted into the capital to shop the flagship format to buyers from around the world.

Created to identify IP for the global market, the IUFF was originated by Fox Alternative Entertainment (FAE), the in-house unscripted studio of Fox.

It is part of a strategy to expand Fox’s global presence, with formats successfully developed abroad also more likely to be eventually remade for the US market.

Alongside Beat My Mini-Mes, other series emerging from the fund include Celebrity Masterpiece, which has been optioned by ITV Studios-backed Multistory Media for the UK, Paris-based prodco Satisfaction for France, and for Thai broadcaster Workpoint TV.

Those two titles are joined by Marriage Market for Germany’s ProSieben, and The Big Deal for Ireland’s Virgin Media Television in partnership with Dublin-based BiggerStage.

Introducing Beat My Mini Mes at the London TV Screenings, David Smyth, exec VP content sales & partnerships, Fox Entertainment Global (FEG), said: “This is the first show that’s come out of our international development fund.

“It’s a great example that we can deliver premium, high-quality entertainment. It’s a really timely moment for us as we come back into this market with a new perspective and accent very firmly on collaboration and partnership.”

Beat My Mini-Mes from France’s TF1 and US broadcast network Fox

Tony Vassiliadis, COO of FEG, claimed that the company’s second visit to the Screenings was proof of Fox’s commitment to overseas markets.

“Part of our mission is to forge partnerships in the international marketplace,” he said. “And to be open-minded in our approach to creating content amidst an ever-changing and, frankly, often challenging media landscape.

“We’ve expanded our unscripted portfolio and opened a London office this year, with the goal to make sure we are in territory and engaging more closely across all of EMEA.”

Fox has licensed Beat My Mini Mes to Spain’s Antena 3, while the format has also been optioned for development in Israel by ITV Studios-owned Armoza Formats.

However, it has first seen the light of day in France, where French broadcaster TF1 coproduced a two-part primetime special with FAE, under the title Dream Team La Relève Des Stars.

“We were looking for a big multi-generational performance show and we wanted to launch it outside of the US”, said Nathalie Wogue, senior VP of global formats at FEG.

“We’re already in discussion with many other territories which are interested in licensing the show or taking an option.”

Dream Team… sees French celebrity singers such as Matt Pokora captain teams of talented kids who are all wearing the same outfit – like mini-mes.

Nathalie Wogue

After multiple rounds of performances, only one child will help their team be crowned the winner.

Julien Degroote, exec VP & head of content development at TF1, admits that creating the first version of the format was both exciting and daunting.

“Getting the call from Nathalie was like receiving a Christmas gift,” he said. “We were honoured but also felt a kind of pressure – because when you work with Fox you have to be excellent, especially if you want to collaborate on other shows in the future.”

Debuting in January, the 2×120’ format impressed with a towering multi-tier studio set built in Portugal.

Although the premiere episode was beaten in the ratings by a showing of Disney animated fantasy film Coco on rival network M6, the second week’s Friday night instalment comfortably attracted the highest audience share in its slot.

Crucially, the show’s mainstream family-friendly premise of cute, talented youngsters finding inspiration from their celebrity idols proved irresistible to advertisers.

“The core ideas of Dream Team are aspiration and positivity,” says Degroote. “It’s the kind of show I would want to watch with my own kids.

“Because of those values, our ad sales team were getting a crazy amount of calls from brands who wanted to be involved with the show.

“At FT1, we usually only have a maximum of three ad breaks per show, but we increased it to four for Dream Team. It proved great for business.”