“There is a thirst and an appetite from international buyers for formats in which we see beautiful rural settings that celebrate farming and the natural world,” says DRG Formats’ managing director Andrea Jackson, referring to Farmer in the City.
The format debuts in Cannes, with DRG having both a promo and full episodes from its run in Denmark, where it has been playing in an 8pm Thursday slot on Norwegian commercial channel TV2 to slot-leading ratings.
Farmer in the City follows three farmers as they enter cities to meet families with “terrible” attitudes to good food and healthy living. Gardens and fridges are investigated before the farmer sets the family tasks such as creating a chicken coop or growing their own food, with a larger task following. Later, the farmer returns to see if the intervention has led to lasting change.
Developed by Strix Television, the show was based on a local commercial for a farming co-op that suggested recent Norwegian generations have lost the ability to live off the land. “We thought this would be a great concept for a TV show and started developing a format around it,” says Strix producer Sebastian Sandsgaard.
TV2 commissioned the series just weeks after Strix’s pitch in April. Production began in June, and the first episode launched to a 23% market share in August, which Sandsgaard says was “by far the best result for any of the commercial channels in the time slot”.
“In terms of budget, you can scale it up or down easily,” says DRG’s Jackson. “There’s a versatility there, which is very important. It has broad appeal and will work in many markets.”
The show: Farmer in the City
The producer: Strix Television
The distributor: DRG Formats
The broadcaster: TV2 (Norway)
The concept: Farmers attempt to teach urban families how respect for agriculture can make their lives better