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US deal for Korea’s Grandpas

BCWW: US network NBC has greenlit what is thought to be the first South Korean unscripted format to go to series in the States, after striking a deal with LA distributor Small World IFT.

Grandpas Over Flowers

Grandpas Over Flowers

Grandpas Over Flowers airs in South Korea on cable network TVN, part of CJ Entertainment & Media (CJ E&M). Small World’s deal with NBC will see the reality show produced as a one-hour series for US audiences under the title Better Late Than Never.

The show follows four entertainment personalities on a backpack adventure across South East Asia. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the duo behind movie The Bucket List, Sound of Music and NBC’s forthcoming Peter Pan live special, are producing the US version.

The news, unconfirmed by NBC or Small World but told to C21 by sources close to the deal, comes on the eve of the Korean television conference BCWW this week.

Grandpas has proved to be something of a hit for CJ E&M. Recently ending its second season in Korea, the format has led to spin-offs Sisters Over Flowers and Youth Over Flowers.

It has also been turned into a drama series called Flower Grandpas Investigators, starring 78-year-old actor Lee Soon-jae from the original show.

Internationally, the unscripted format is being adapted for Chinese viewers by Dragon TV as part of a major format deal between the channel and CJ E&M.

The Korean firm is behind several other travelling formats, such as unscripted shows Crazy Market, Superstar K and Super Diva, plus dramas Yellow Boots (aka Ice Adonis) and Nine: Nine Time Travels. The latter was picked up for development by ABC in the US, via Fake Empire Productions.

The Grandpas deal with NBC adds to Small World’s first-look deal with the US network, which was recently renewed. Small World also distributes CJ E&M’s comedy gameshow 3 Idiots.

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