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Llewelyn-Bowen, Formatzone team up

L to R: Mark Rowland, Ben Robinson and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

L to R: Mark Rowland, Ben Robinson and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Fledgling UK production and content syndication company Formatzone will launch a joint venture with TV interior design guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen at MipTV next month.

The first format to emerge from the JV is Laurence of Suburbia, a makeover format billed as a “fresh approach to home makeover and scalable for production in every territory.”

Llewelyn-Bowen, who made his name on the popular BBC series Changing Rooms in the 1990s and 2000s, recently fronted Asian show The Apartment.

“Twenty years ago I made a crazy pilot for a very left-field format called Changing Rooms, the rest is history – with a little bit of biology thrown in. Since then the mainstream commissioning system has become addicted to the tried and tested or the genre with a track record,” said Llewelyn-Bowen.

“Formatzone is about breaking through all of that and allowing creativity to once again reign supreme. It’s been a difficult few years for originality so Formatzone’s commitment to midwife new and innovative creative formats will make such a difference to the sameness of global broadcasting. I like to see it as the lunatics taking over the TV asylum.”

Former Supernanny and Robot Wars exec producer Mark Rowland launched Formatzone at Natpe in January. The company is working with global producers, YouTube talent and digital creators to develop and produce unscripted formats.

Also behind Formatzone is veteran TV exec Ben Robinson, who has worked on shows for ITV, BBC and Discovery.

Multi-hour output deals have already been forged with Made TV and Big Centre TV, which operate regional networks across the UK. Formatzone has also secured investment from funds including Finance Birmingham, Ascension Ventures and Midven, and is using a new five-studio facility in Birmingham, UK.

“We are excited to be working with such a smart, funny, expert talent as Laurence. He knows what makes great design and great TV. We are confident Laurence of Suburbia will become a worldwide hit,” said Rowland, who is also executive chairman of C21Media.

Llewelyn-Bowen will also be hosting the International Format Awards ceremony during MipFormats on April 2, which Formatzone is sponsoring. The awards are a coproduction between the leading players in the formats business: C21Media, FRAPA and Entertainment Master Class, in association with MipFormats.

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