Created by Belgium-based Panenka and sold by Dutch outfit Lineup Industries, Taboo sees a comedian spend time with people that society has judged too taboo to laugh about. He or she then performs a stand-up routine, where the vulnerable people are in the audience and are the subject of the punchline.
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The show, which has been nominated for an International Emmy, launched last year in Belgium on Dutch language broadcaster VRT één and tackled issues including terminal illness, obesity, blindness, and mental illness. It was the highest rating entertainment premiere in VRT één’s history and garnered praise for helping normalize issues surrounded by shame or bigotry.
“We knew the minute we saw Taboo that it was special,” said Karrie Wolfe, EVP of Development at Kinetic. “It’s not often a show comes along that challenges one’s thinking on really tough topics in such a different way – through comedy. It’s a very provocative show, and yet it’s also incredibly heart-warming.”
Julian Curtis, co-founder and COO of Lineup Industries, added: “It’s a true privilege to have Taboo in our catalog, and the creators, Panenka, have found a unique way to question the relationship between humor and societal standards, using comedy and humanity to explore the idea of prejudice through the eyes of those affected.”
Taboo has already been commissioned by Network 10 in Australia, Canada’s Bell Media, and SFR in Switzerland, while it has also been optioned in 13 other territories. Kinetic has a track record with format adaptations, having turned the Danish series Married At First Sight into a successful US series, currently on Lifetime. The show was renewed for seasons 10 and 11 last week.