Mipcom: Fresh TV Format Session Highlights Relationship-Themed Shows

Elsa Keslassy

CANNES, France — When it comes to factual formats, the big trend is no longer talent and quiz shows but rather formats dealing with relationships, from family bonds to marriage and friendship, according to a report compiled by research organization The Wit and unveiled at Mipcom.

Presented by Wit CEO, Virginia Mouseler, the so-called Fresh TV session presented clips of dozens of formats from around the world to a jam-packed auditorium. “The key word of this fall is ‘together.’ What can we do together?” said Mouseler.

Dating and adventure shows were up 13% and 23%, respectively, in 2016, while talent and quiz shows were down 14% and 21%, respectively. Game and cooking shows were also down, according to The Wit’s research.

One of the most prevalent themes was forgiveness, with at least four dedicated shows:

“I’ve Got Something to Tell You,” from U.K. outfit Blue Ant, which sees ordinary people who meet in an English country retreat and make confessions filmed by fixed cameras.

“Boxed,” sold by Israel’s Keshet International, locks up two people who have a serious conflict to resolve in a box with a mediator standing by outside. The two individuals are separated by a wall, which is lifted at the end of the episode to show whether the pair has reconciled or if one of them walked out.

“Look Me in the Eye,” from Germany’s Red Arrow International, gets two people who have been estranged for a long time to look into one another’s eyes for two minutes, without talking. Afterward, they have to decide whether they want to resolve their problem or walk away forever.

“Face to Face,” from Dutch outfit Flare Media, brings two estranged people to confront each other and stare at each other without talking.

Another theme was pregnancy. Some of the shows dealing with pregnancy in a creative way were “Man Birth,” from Keshet International, which sees future fathers experience what it’s like to expect a baby; and “Pregnant & Platonic,” another Israeli format from Gil Formats, which sees women and men who are looking to have a child together — without falling in love — getting matched by parenting experts and “auditioning” each other.

Friendship was also part of the rising themes for non-fiction formats. One of them, “The Letter,” from ITV Studios, sees a group of friends who anonymously write a “brutally honest letter” to one another, dictating what rules each person must follow during a week to become a better person and a better friend.

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