Based on a board game created by game designers Tristan Hyatt-Williams, Ben Drummond and Dean Tempest – collectively Linkee – The Link is a 25-episode access prime gameshow series for BBC One in the UK in which contestants answer questions, which, each round, add up to create the answer to a larger question.
Warner Bros. International Television Production has swooped in to take format rights from LTV, which a partnership between Linkee and former Endemol and Reed MIDEM exec Paul Johnson of Tuvalu Entertainment.
“What was attractive to them was also attractive us and that was the international potential, especially in the US,” says Andrew Zein, WBITVP’s senior VP, creative, format development and sales.
WBITVP has high hopes Mike Darnell and his Warner Bros. unscripted division in America can place the show with a US broadcaster given “great game shows are back at the top of broadcasters’ wish lists”.
The Link will hit MIPTV without the benefit of viewing figures – production is currently wrapping ahead of a May broadcast debut – but Zein says the sales team has the “wonderful shop window of a BBC One commission”.
Once on air, The Link will try to replicate the success of long running BBC game show Pointless, which performs well on weekdays, has transferred to higher profile Saturday night slots and which Endemol has recently sold as a format to broadcasters in Poland, Macedonia and Serbia. “Everyone wants the returnability a primetime quiz can deliver,” says Zein.
The key, Zein continues, is The Link’s producers have avoided simply remaking a board game for television – “that way disaster lies,” he quips – but have recognised “what makes the game attractive is the human curiosity of what links things together and developed a show around that”.
The UK series is further boosted by actor Mark Williams – best known for appearances in film franchise Harry Potter and classic BBC sketch series The Fast Show in the UK – who is signed up as presenter.
The show: The Link
The producer: STV Productions is association in LTV
The distributor: Warner Bros. International Television Production
The broadcaster: BBC One (UK)
The concept: Access primetime gameshow in which single questions are linked together to create an overall answer