With new entertainment format ‘Starstruck’ launching on ITV in the UK tomorrow, Banijay’s global head of content development James Townley reveals why such ‘shiny-floor’ shows are poised to come back in a big way
Entertainment formats have always been a prominent feature of the global television landscape – we saw the likes of X Factor, Popstars, and Idol dominate screens around the world in the early 2000s. Yet in recent years it feels like there has been more caution around the commissioning of these types of formats, especially the bold, shiny-floor shows.
Arguably Covid-19 exacerbated this decline as broadcasters became more risk-averse, and shiny-floor entertainment was amongst some of the most difficult to produce during the pandemic, given the studio audiences, contestants, talent, and large crews involved. However, two years on, with stringent protocols firmly in place, and a real demand for some upbeat, nostalgic, and energetic entertainment, the genre looks poised for a very welcome resurgence.
Evolving for modern audiences
When done well, entertainment can drive market share, generating huge audiences for broadcasters, and streamers are getting in on the act too. We are seeing heavy investment from streamers in non-scripted shows such as Floor is Lava (Netflix) and LOL: Last One Laughing (Amazon Prime Video). And they are adding more entertainment to their catalogues – the recent deal between Hulu and Fox Entertainment will see the likes of I Can See Your Face and The Masked Singer streaming on the Disney-owned platform.
Entertainment stalwarts such as The Voice, Wipeout and Dancing With The Stars are still phenomenally popular with audiences all around the world. These are co-viewing, appointment to view TV shows, which are fantastic at attracting and retaining young audiences. However, even these classic formats have had to evolve for modern audiences. Take Strictly Come Dancing’s 2021 final, which was the most diverse in the show’s history. From a deaf contestant to a same-sex pairing – the success and enjoyment of the series demonstrates how increasingly important representation, inclusion and diversity are for audiences.
The use of advanced technology is an interesting trend surfacing in new entertainment formats, from Alter Ego’s avatars to Family Piggy Bank’s innovative CGI. New tech opportunities are emerging fast – whether it’s TV you can taste or blurring lines with the metaverse, the opportunities feel limitless. I’m sure we are not the only ones with innovative, tech driven formats in the pipeline.
Talent on both sides of the camera
Banijay has strong credentials in entertainment, having rolled out global hits such as Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Your Face Sounds Familiar and All Together Now. There is a definite skill to producing big entertainment hits and we’re always keen to leverage our expertise globally.
In the UK, Remarkable TV has done a fantastic job creating our latest entertainment format Starstruck, which launches on ITV this Saturday. The team has gone big and bold, for a fun Saturday night show that is an uplifting celebration of people and music. Taking ordinary members of the public and transforming them into music legends from Tina Turner to Freddie Mercury, contestants compete as a trio, connected only by their love of their idol. Ramping up the scale and energy of the shiny-floor genre, we had a team of 50 people creating the show-stopping costumes and make-up, with contestants performing on a spectacular, large-scale, original set. The looks are iconic, the music is feel-good, and the tone is warm. This brand-new format is all about celebrating great music and great characters in an original way.
Talent, both on and off screen, is instrumental in helping deliver the fun and upbeat tone of an entertainment show. Strong on-screen names help boost broadcaster confidence in a new show, they can deliver big audiences, and are essential to creating a local feel for global formats. We’re delighted with the energy that the Starstruck talent bring, with Olly Murs at the helm and judges Sheridan Smith, Beverly Knight, Jason Manford and Adam Lambert.
Investment in off-screen talent is also hugely important, and at Banijay we endeavour to attract and retain the best talent globally. Entertainment is a key area of focus for us, and by supporting and investing in our creatives, we are lucky enough to be able to supercharge our pipeline with new, innovative formats that complement an already strong catalogue.
It feels like we are on the cusp of a new wave of uplifting entertainment formats and the future is starting to look rather shiny for entertainment.