12Oct2012
MIPCOM Wrap Up: Celebrities Diving, “The Money Pump”, “The Bank Job”, and Others Thumbnail

MIPCOM Wrap Up: Celebrities Diving, “The Money Pump”, “The Bank Job”, and Others

This week in Cannes is the international television market MIPCOM.  For those not familiar with it MIPCOM is the world’s largest market for creating, buying, and selling television shows and formats.  Naturally game shows are very prevalent here due to their nature, and they were indeed out in full force.  Through awards, new shows, and acquisitions, the genre had a big week.

First off, congratulations to Endemol who won the award for best studio-based game show for The Bank Job.  The show beat out The Exit ListAre You Normal, and many others.  We did enjoy Bank Job and, to be honest, out of those formats it was the best.  It was hampered by some production decisions we didn’t agree with, and we’d still love to see the floated-around daytime version, but regardless it is a fun format we’re glad to see the team win.  Congratulations to them. Looking back at clips I do miss seeing the show, actually.

An Israeli format has been the talk of the town lately and native US and UK versions look to be coming soon.  ITV Studios has acquired the rights to the format The Money Pump for local versions in Germany, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland in addition to America and England and others down the line.  The show sees a team of two people answering questions as quickly as they can, because the longer they take the more cash is taken out of their bank through the money pump. Wrong answers mean that the pump increases its speed and money disappears faster.

We saw the pitch film and some of the Israeli version of The Money Pump and it’s another one of those shows that “just exists”, which seems to be our new motto for the genre recently.  It does nothing new or unique.  Frankly it feels really close to Million Pound Drop in that it’s another exercise in futility as people just try to not lose so much…not necessarily win.  We’ve seen that style of game hasn’t gone over that well  in many places including some of the markets ITV Studios is targeting.  However, in this current time, it’s amazing when any quiz format gains any traction at all so we’re very happy to see something that requires you to have a shred of knowledge go far.  We’ll keep you up to date on this.  Here’s the trailer for the show.  What do you think?  I’ve got some major issues but I’m curious how you feel.

The most confusing sensation at MIPCOM, though, is this string of celebrity diving competitions going around.  It’s been the talk of Cannes this week and I can’t put my finger on why anyone thinks this is a good idea.  ABC has already picked up Celebrity Splash as we previously discussed, and literally a second format (this time from Banijay) is now making the rounds and selling.  So, yes, there are two competing shows that see celebrities jump into pools.  Am I missing something here?  I don’t like the celebrity dancing shows but I understand why they’re popular.  However, let’s be honest, the entire point of the celebrity diving shows is the hope that a famous person will belly flop.  If they don’t people don’t care.  There’s some marvel to ballroom dancing because not everyone can do it and it is visually appealing.  This is just watching people jump off a board.  Again, please tell me if I’m missing something. Here’s a film for this one to get you prepared.

In other MIPCOM news, we found that Sony Pictures took The Pyramid, The Bible Challenge, Russian Roulette, and many others for sale.  We expected the first two given The Pyramid‘s international notoriety and The Bible Challenge‘s big success, but Russian Roulette surprises me.  It’s undeniably a great format, possibly one of the best of the past decade, but it’s been gone for a while.  Networks in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and the Balkans have picked up the full rerun package to ITV’s award winning game show The Cube.  It’s a smart move.  There’s no knowledge barrier and the visuals and game aspect is universally understood. It would be great to see some network, even like a Syfy, pick it up here.  Click here to visit our Facebook page and here for our Twitter page to get the most up to date information on MIPCOM, since news is coming in constantly.

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Alex Davis

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Alex Davis is an award winning writer and producer based out of Pittsburgh, PA, who works out of New York, Los Angeles, and London. Alex is the head writer and editor for BuzzerBlog and is the president and head of development of 5Hole Productions, specializing in unscripted formats for television and internet play.

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Discussion

19 responses to "MIPCOM Wrap Up: Celebrities Diving, “The Money Pump”, “The Bank Job”, and Others"

  • chris says:

    The diving show from Banijay was actually around for awhile. It premiered in 2004 in Germany, they were just not able to sell it. The difference to Celebrity Splash is that (in Germany) it’s a yearly competition which takes a few hours. No viewer voting, just some jury.

    It’s called tv total platform diving and it’s a spin-off from tv total, some late night show hosted by Stefan Raab for younger people. He used to do a segment called “Raab in danger”, where he did this kind of stuff. And people here in Germany also watch it to see how Raab does in this challenges,

    There are several celebrity competitions from Stefan Raab, Stock Car Crash Challenge is coming up next this weekend.

  • Coupon Boy says:

    A daytime version of the Bank Job sounds just about right. With returning champions and Channel 4 in charge, contestants (particularly those like the last champion Scott) could win life changing money still. Keep in mind that lately, Channel 4′s daytime game shows have been offering BIG money (i.e. Wogan’s Perfect Recall offering a 100k top prize each and every day despite being a 30 minute show) so if Bank Job did become a daytime show, the money probably wouldn’t be cut down too much.

  • James Greek says:

    What about Truth or Conseqences and Treasure Hunt?

  • Eric says:

    *WARNING GAME SHOW FANATIC MODE ENGAGED*

    I guess since i grew up in the Trivia years of game shows so i like seeing The Money Pump (Fox just dont pick it up. i dont want to see another of my favorites or shows i like destroyed). I like the look and feel of it from what i saw. I am over the whole reality game show thing INCLUDING anything with dancing, singing, or now diving. I am still trying to wrack my brain to figure out why in the freaking world CBS and Fox has been idiots. Let us look: The Cube with NPH: that one would be the biggest winner. Secret Fortune with Donny O: as long as he was better than on pyramid this show will work. Fox’s version of The Chase: In the words of my Mentor….WTF?!?!?! winning formula, amazing host and the chasers where perfect choices…these show are being set on and not a damn thing to bring them to air….over all i want to see all these shows make it to TV and not being set on.

    *END OF FANATIC MODE*

    • Curtis says:

      *starts slow clap*

    • Andrew L. Budny says:

      I agree all the way that The Cub, The Chase and Secret Fortune should get on the air ASAP. But their are two obstacles that are blocking this from happening.

      1) Fox will never bring the The Chase on the air after the Million Dollar Money Drop fiasco in which two couples sued the network for the questions being misleading with the recent case going on after the show has been off the air for about a year and a half. I assuming Fox dosen’t want to get any more heat from what happened with this show.

      2) CBS, the network that passed on The Pyramid revival three times to bring Let’s Make A Deal and Julie (Chen-Bot’s) talk show The Talk on the air in which she is married to Les Moonves, the head of the network who will please his wife instead of true gameshow fanatics like us. Otherwise I could see divorce proceding brewing if this happens.

      Overall I totally want these shows to air, but with the way that television is now a days, we will never quality programming like in the 70′s and 80′s when gameshows were the norm.

    • CarShark says:

      Don’t forget The Exit List on ABC…though goodness knows THEY have. Game shows are not priorities for networks. They skew fairly old in the first-run, and there’s only one realistic place to sell reruns in syndication. Dramas can go to TNT or USA. Comedies to TBS, FX or Comedy Central (and looks like USA now), as well as local markets where they run for years. Game shows, however, just have GSN. GSN doesn’t have TBS money or even CC money to spend. Big Bang Theory was sold for $2 million per episode to TBS and FOX stations. NCIS: LA netted $2.5 million per episode…after 7 weeks on the air. Between the two, that’ll be almost a quarter-billion dollars. There’s no way GSN can afford anything near that, so there’s little chance that a game show can get that much.

      So networks have to make a choice: go with a comedy and possibly make a ton in syndication, go with a drama and make quite a bit in syndication, or go with unscripted and pay less up front, but have few options for syndication. Looking at the fall schedules for the Big Four, and it seems that they’ve made their choice. They all have that one big reality show (Voice, X/Idol, Dancing, Survivor and Race, kinda), but there aren’t many middling ones (a la CSI or SVU). It’s either a smash hit or a failure, no middle ground. Because the middle ground is better filled by a scripted show. Now the only place we’ll see one is either Friday night, during Christmas break or summer.

  • David says:

    At least in theory it’s possible to win the entire jackpot amount on Money Pump than Million Pound Drop, based on what I’ve been able to figure out from a couple of episodes I was able to see:

  • aaron says:

    The only reason fox used survey questions on ” million dollar money drop” is because they are too incompetent to hire ACTUAL question setters.

  • James E. Parten says:

    Life we NEED another “play-not-to-lose” game show? Haven’t our broadcasters and cable-casters already learned their lesson with “Million Dollar Money Drop”? It’s a format that does not wash with American viewers!

    I can see where ITV would want to find another show to either complement or compete with “Million Pound Drop”, but the only way they can seell it in the USA is by “block-cooking” it with a better game format (like”The Chase”)–that is, telling prospective buyers that they have to buy the one if they want the other.

    Celebrity diving? Might have a niche market if the contestants are limited to hunks and hotties!

  • Wayne says:

    There was nothing wrong with the format of MDMD, and the Money Pump will be just fine–as long as the writing is solid.

    Questions referring to surveys are not trivia, and the answers are only valid when referring to whatever survey nobody ever heard of is used. This is why these types of questions were used, so they would be impossible for anyone to answer.

  • Ken in Hong Kong says:

    I’m with Alex on a daytime version of “The Bank Job”, so where is it? As long as it’s edited properly so that the production gaffes are gone, there’s no prisoner’s dilemma (which I hate) and they’re transparent about the number of “steals” available, I’m cool with it. Here’s another suggestion: Just as there is one “bankrupt” on each board, there could also be a “steal + 1″ card, meaning you get the biggest bundle of an opponent AND another free pick from the board. Most of all, this game needs a better pace — more questions, less chat.

  • Scott says:

    The title graphics of The Money Pump remind of the title graphics of Million Dollar Money Drop, but it’s actually a pretty interesting concept. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work would go into creating tubes of that size to blow air in, but the format seems great for a new primetime game show.

    My only problem with The Money Pump is the networks that’ll carry it.

    CBS will pass on it, like they did with The Cube and Secret Fortune.

    FOX will probably be interested in it, but if they pick it up and slow the pace down as slow as Million Dollar Money Drop to air 2 contestants per hour, it will be a disaster.

    NBC will probably be interested, but then again, let’s not forget that they botched up the Israeli format of Who’s Still Standing, which would’ve been successful over here, had they not slowed down the pace of the questions and constantly messed up the editing and rules.

    ABC is the best hope for The Money Pump, since they do know how to create good game shows, like we saw with DUEL and Million Dollar Mind Game. The only question is whether or not they’ll want to go ahead with a run of a trivia game show in primetime. Remember, they passed on The Exit List and also pushed Million Dollar Mind Game to a weekend spot, in both cases because they weren’t confident that a trivia game show would do well in primetime.

    Realistically though, I think The Money Pump will end up on NBC or FOX… I just hope that they don’t ruin the format. Good theme music, fast-paced questions (get 2 pairs of contestants per episode; not just 1 pair) and a tense atmosphere would do it well with a 6 to 10-episode season.

    • Ken in Hong Kong says:

      What does it say about American culture that quiz shows aren’t well-received anymore? The ones that are most successful these days are “TPIR” and “LMAD.” One of the greatest formats in game-show history, “The Pyramid,” is floundering. I’m an American, and I just don’t understand it. Why not give “The Chase” a chance, even in a limited run? Even daytime.

    • Daniel B. says:

      “[ABC] pushed Million Dollar Mind Game to a weekend spot [...] because they weren’t confident that a trivia game show would do well in primetime.”

      I’m pretty sure Sunday afternoons against football was closer to “burn-off” than anything else. And then they gave “You Deserve It” (a feel-good show hosted by a network “reality” star) a primetime slot.

      It isn’t that networks don’t think a trivia game show would do well in primetime, it’s that they don’t *want* to put one in primetime — they’d rather shove the same “reality” crap to the masses rather than brain-stimulating programming.

      “Mind Game” was all about *logic problems*, by the way. No wonder ABC sent it against football.

  • David Howell says:

    Money Pump definitely feels like Drop 2.0, even down to the name, but I actually quite like it as an idea. The fact that discussion between contestants is only a lifeline means I think I might prefer it with two strangers rather than a couple, it’d at least give a different angle to the “trusting your partner” from most shows (and also distinguish it a bit more from Drop).

    Similarly, Celebrity Diving is basically DWTS Extreme, and will draw a younger audience if only because of what the celebrities are(n’t) wearing (expect some shamelessly shallow casting for this, not unrelatedly). Doubt it’ll stick around in many places – though I can see a good first season in the UK on the back of the Olympic effect, especially as a diver (Tom Daley) was one of the more high-profile British competitors – but easy to see why it’s sold.

    Bank Job didn’t live up to its potential (to put it mildly), but the basic idea of Grand Slam meets Take It Or Leave It was one of the best combinations of disparate formats I’ve seen in a long time. Against this competition or lack thereof, I’m OK with it winning.

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