Show of the week: The Phone Secrets

This controversial concept hails from Italy as one of indie prodco Vivi la Vita’s first forays into formats after launching a dedicated genre division, and will debut to the international market at NATPE in Miami via Mediaset Distribution.

The format sees three couples sat around a table with their smartphones connected to an LED wall. One person per couple then unlocks their handset and hands control of it to their partners, who then get two minutes to go their personal messages, photos and chats. These are highlighted to the room, leading to revelations that then create animated discussions among the participants.

The players are ultimately competing to win an exotic holiday for themselves and their partners – if they are still speaking after the exchange.

“It is a very innovative mechanism that the couple suddenly becomes enemies, because one is a victim and the other an executioner,” says Mediaset Distribution head of international sales Manuela Caputi.

Currently a paper format, there are plans to test the format as a pilot on young adult female-skewed channel La5. “It’s an universal gameshow that can suit different countries no matter the local tradition or culture,” says Caputi. “This is really a very innovative show for everybody in all the world.”

“We are launching the format in Miami [along with reality series The Bodyguard] at NATPE, and we hope to develop collaborations with international broadcasters interested in testing and commissioning a pilot,” she adds.

With Mediaset pushing into format creation and distribution, Caputi hopes to nurture partnerships with broadcasters and prodcos to co-develop more original ideas, and as such will be pitching to NATPE delegates. “We have a good creative hub and this can be an opportunity for unscripted formats,” she says.

The show: The Phone Secrets
The producer: Vivi la Vita
The distributor: Mediaset Distribution
The broadcaster: TBC
The concept: Couples leave their smartphones on a table, revealing their secret messages and habits