Patrick Scholtze, a long time John de Mol associate one of the creators of Big Brother, has forged a deal with All3Media and launched a new formats company, White Smoke Media.
Scholtze has joined forces with another ex-Endemol and Talpa exec Etienne de Jong and together they have built a ten-strong team that operates out of Hilversum in the Netherlands.
"It would have been possible to go on with John and Talpa, but after twenty years it was a good time to launch on our own," says Sholtze. "There was an opportunity to set up a new company and at that moment All3Media came in."
The new company will develop ideas, but not get involved in production. De Jong says: "We’re not interested in the production side, we consider the company a formats factory and we will give All3 first access to all of our ideas."
Instead of just offering broadcasters paper formats, Sholtze and De Jong have hit upon the idea of creating ‘trigger tapes’ that will give commissioners a visual run down of the format in question. The tapes are designed to bridge the gap between a paper format and a pilot and will comprise stills and visual cues that explain the idea in question.
Sholtze says: "The important thing we decided is that we don’t believe in paper formats anymore. We said we will never have a paper-only format, we will always have a ‘trigger tape’ to give to the broadcaster."
The company actually started out in March, but wanted to build a catalogue of entertainment formats before having a coming out party.
There are ten-to-twelve projects in development and All3Media has first look at international rights to all formats. The initial slate of formats includes Family Connections, a family-friendly comedy panel show in which celebrities have to match individuals with their correct family and family home.
The first commission for a White Smoke project is thought to be a matter of weeks away.
"This is a perfect partnership," says All3Media International managing director Louise Pederson. "If you get the chance to work with top creatives like Patrick and Etienne then you take it."
All3Media already has a presence in the Netherlands through its ownership of indie drama producer ID TV.