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IFA 2020 - Gold Award Winner

Wayne Garvie

The Winner

International Format Gold Award: Wayne Garvie

Sony Pictures Television president of international production Wayne Garvie looks back on his career so far as he prepares to receive the Gold Award at the 2020 International Formats Awards this week. By Jonathan Webdale.

The first TV format Wayne Garvie ever worked on was The Krypton Factor, a physical gameshow that, after more than 15 years on ITV in the UK, was beginning to look, well, a little feeble alongside its new musclebound counterpart Gladiators.

Wayne GarvieGarvie was brought in as a budding producer in the mid-1990s by one Andy Harries, at the time controller of comedy and entertainment at producer Granada Television, to liven up the show.

“We managed to destroy The Krypton Factor,” he says now, reflecting on this formative experience in an interview conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic. “In our madness of trying to find a new way of doing it, we lost sight of all the essential elements that made it so successful.”

He recalls coming into work the morning after the revamped version aired and receiving a call from an angry pensioner who “harangued” him for 20 minutes for ruining her favourite programme before passing the phone to her husband to do the same. The complaints kept coming.

“I got an immediate understanding of how audiences love shows and you tamper with these things at your peril,” says Garvie. “I became very respectful of formats that have longevity, both for the audience and the businesses that make them. I learned a big lesson there.”

The business Garvie now makes formats for is Sony Pictures Television (SPT), where he is president of international production, while Harries, his former Granada employer, is CEO of Left Bank Pictures, the SPT-owned maker of Netflix’s The Crown, a prodco Garvie had a hand in financing while MD of content and production at BBC Worldwide (BBCWW).

It was at the latter’s public service parent, which he joined in 1998 as head of entertainment, that he brought his Krypton Factor experience to bear, taking flagging BBC quizshow A Question of Sport and tweaking it successfully, so that it remains on-air.
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