Warner Bros. International Television Productions latest format is a perfect example of the synergy the company hoped to gain from the €200 million (US$257.4 million) acquisition of the Eyeworks Group earlier this year.
They Are Just Like Us comes from Eyeworks Netherlands, and is a comedy panel show that plays to both TV audiences and the YouTube generation by mixing a classic entertainment staple with funny clips of animals.
Teams comprising a captain and a celebrity guest undertake rounds such as guessing animal noises and behaviours; deducing if images of animals are real or faked by Photoshop; ranking animals by kills, dangerousness, popularity as pets and aggression; and a ‘what happens next’ round.
“It has already aired on RTL4 and did very well in the ratings and we’re confident that this success will travel internationally,” says WBITVP’s senior VP, creative, format development and sales Andrew Zein. He adds the show is “already in development in a number of territories through our production companies in our network” – another allusion to the scale the Eyeworks deal handed Warner.
Zein agrees that the market already homes plenty of comedy panel shows, but none of these “combine this with animals – and funny clips of animals”.
“There is a massive trend at the moment of animal clips – people are posting them and watching them all the time on social networks so this is the perfect opportunity to cross over to television,” he adds.
Though the format is one that will “appeal to everyone”, as Zein puts it, broadcasters and producers can alter the tone to suit their audiences, meaning its scope is wider than first impressions might suggest.
“They Are Just Like Us can be made as a prime time family entertainment show, but can also be made a bit edgier for a later slot,” explains Zein.
The show: They Are Just Like Us
The producer: Eyeworks Netherlands
The distributor: Warner Bros. International Television Production
The broadcaster: RTL4 (Netherlands)
The concept: Comedy panel show that uses animal clips as its central motif