The Hit began life as part of Irish public broadcaster RTE’s innovative Formats Farm project that sees new format pilots broadcast on RTE Two. The show broadcast on September 6, 2012, in a primetime 9.30pm slot and was met with an extremely positive response, according to Andrew Zein, senior VP, creative, format development and sales at Warner Bros. International Television Production, the format’s distributor.
The show sees hundreds of songs submitted for consideration by a professional producer, with a few songwriters progressing to a live show. The singers then perform their tunes to a pair of established music stars, who then fight to secure their two favourites. These are then honed into completed songs, with each star performing just one chosen track at the live finale. The two songs are released and made available for download to decide which is the bigger hit.
The pilot had popular MTV Europe presenter Laura Whitmore attached as presenter, with Irish pop acts Brian McFadden and Royseven taking the star roles. The latter’s song choice, Sidelines, from Steve Walker and Ed Kelly shot to number one in the Irish iTunes download charts, while McFadden’s Invincible checked in at number three.
According to Zein, the pilot success proves “demand for reality talent shows is still there” with primetime audiences. “Everybody who watched the Irish pilot loved it,” he adds.
One issue VIP faced in production was marrying the glitzy studio competition and behind-the-scenes creative process elements into a cohesive package. “The Hit solves that by bringing the two levels together,” says Zein.
WBITVP’s move to snap up sales rights came out of its first-look deal with Irish entertainment and lifestyle formats production company VIP, which is headed by Philip Kampff and responsible for shows including Super Star Ding Dong and Operation Transformation.
Zein will be in Cannes shopping the format, which he says is very close to securing its first full series commission. “Broadcasters are searching for their next big hit. They are looking for something new but that has an undeniable appeal. The Hit could be that.”
The show: The Hit
The producer: Vision Independent Productions
The distributor: Warner Bros. International Television Production
The broadcaster: RTE
Concept: A reality talent format in which singer-songwriters battle it out to have their music hit the charts with the help of established stars