Exclusive: Disney+ eyes European remakes for unscripted formats, unveils new shows

The Quest

Disney+ is looking for European production partners to work on regional remakes of its unscripted series, as it ramps up its originals output ahead of launching on the continent later this year.

Earlier this month, the Mouse House brought forward by a week the Western European launch date for its hotly anticipated streaming service, revealing it will cost £5.99/€6.99 per month or £59.99/€69.99 annually.

TBI understands European companies are now in talks with the streamer about producing local versions of its originals for the service, with a focus on unscripted fare.

Several producers have told TBI that most of these conversations are going through Disney’s HQ in LA, with discussions exploring regional versions of existing unscripted formats.

New unscripted offerings

Disney yesterday unveiled a raft of unscripted shows for its new service at Realscreen in New Orleans, including quiz series The Maze and a teen-skewing reboot of reality show The Quest, which ran for a season on Disney-owned ABC in 2014.

The latter will be filmed at a castle outside Vienna, Austria, and will see teen contestants competing in an unfolding drama where they encounter mystical beings and magical encounters.

Court Five’s Mark Ordesky (The Lord Of The Rings) and Jane Fleming exec produce alongside LA-based Scout Productions’ David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric and New Media Collective’s Bertram van Munster, Elise Doganieri and Mark Dziak.

The Maze, meanwhile, requires five teams consisting of one adult and one teen relative to solve riddles and decipher clues that will guide them through European cities and fairytale villages. It is also executive produced by van Munster, Doganieri and Dziak.

Elsewhere, National Geographic’s Meet The Chimps is from London’s Blink Films and explores a 200-acre refuge for monkey in Louisiana, while an untitled Pixar series from Supper Club (Chef’s Table) will follow the animation company’s SparkShorts program.

The series will follow a group of Pixar employees who are given the opportunity to make their own animated short film.

“These projects take people on epic adventures, immerse them in fantastical worlds and shine a light on extraordinary people and creatures, which are all important benchmarks of our Disney+ nonfiction content philosophy,” said Agnes Chu, SVP of content at Disney+.

“We are thrilled that we get to bring the groundbreaking The Quest back to life, and can’t wait for people to discover The Maze, our special subjects in Meet The Chimps and the innovation and wonder of making Pixar’s Sparkshorts.”

Disney+ will launch in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland on 24 March. Other Western Europe markets, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal, will follow this summer.

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