Simon Lythgoe signs co-pro with T Group


LA-based T Group Productions has unveiled an overall co-production deal with Emmy-nominated producer and TFP consultant Simon Lythgoe.

Lythgoe-DalyUnder the deal, Lythgoe will create, develop and produce unscripted programming with a focus on formats and live events to be co-produced with T Group in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom.

Lythgoe and his Legacy Productions team will relocate to T Group’s office in Los Angeles, and work with Jenny Daly (right), president of T Group, and Rob Lobl, EVP of development and current programming. Daly and Lythgoe will serve as executive producers on all series.

With over 20 years of television experience, Lythgoe has created and produced formats around the world for broadcast and cable networks such as FOX, CBS, Sky, NBC, ITV, Seven Network, CMT and ABC. As founder and president of Legacy Productions, Lythgoe has created and produced A Chance to Dance for Ovation, Opening Act for E! and Next Superstar for CMT.

Prior to establishing Legacy, Lythgoe had an exclusive overall deal at Fremantle Media North America where he worked on productions such as America’s Got Talent, Can You Duet, Celebrity Family Feud, American Idol among others. He also spent time at Mark Burnett Productions where he produced Steven Spielberg’s On The Lot.

Lythgoe has a history with T Group, having served as an executive producer and showrunner for an upcoming T Group / Roberts Media production, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, that premieres May 7 on Freeform.

“Simon is an expert when it comes to creating beautiful premium content,” said Daly, in a statement. “His skill of crafting suspense, authentic emotion and big reveals all under the pressure of live stage performance is one of the best in the business. He’s a perfect addition to the team as we look to further expand into this space.”

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Chef In your Ear to India


April 2: Singapore-based Bomanbridge Media announced the sale of 26 episodes of the English-language finished version of “Chef In Your Ear” to Indian broadcaster AETV 18.

Chef In Your Ear is a cooking competition format in which two professional chefs work with two novice cooks to try and deliver restaurant-quality dishes. The amateurs wear ear-pieces, taking instructions from a chef whom they have been paired with, and who is locked away in a booth, unable to smell or taste the food.

““Chef In Your Ear” is one of those very unique shows that is so fun, yet full of drama as well as instructive. India has a rich food culture and the show is sure to be a hit on AETN 18. Bomanbridge is pleased to represent “Chef In Your Ear” in the Asia Pacific and we hope to soon announce Asian formatted versions in the near future,” said Sonia Fleck, Bomanbridge’s CEO.

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Real Screen Newsat this link

Television Post – India  – at this link

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World Screen Newsat this link

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The NRK / Magnify Media reality gameshow “Doctors Vs Internet”, which ‘Format Doctor’ Justin Scroggie helped the Norwegian team to develop last year, has won best studio gameshow at this year’s International Formats Awards in Cannes.

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Celebrating with Ole Hedemann the win by NRK of “Doctors vs Internet” at the International Format Awards.

As Justin spelled out in his recent Casebook, the premise of the show (called “What’s Wrong with You?” in Norway) sees two teams compete to diagnose the medical conditions of real people entering the studio, across three rounds. The twist is that while one team is made up of doctors, the other team are ordinary people with access to Google.

In addition to the award, “Doctors Vs Internet” is having a terrific second season in Norway, with audience share consistently above 40%, and a recent high of 46%!

Another NRK format that Justin assisted with, “Animal Attraction” is currently prepping for a second season.  And after a recent ‘surgery’ in Trondheim in March to examine another three new formats, Justin is excited by the quality and quantity of new and original ideas coming out of Norway.


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The second day of MIP Formats in Cannes saw TFP partners Michel Rodrigue and Justin Scroggie using the best and worst examples of pitching to reveal how to sell formats.

In a unique presentation, Justin and Michel played a ‘pitcher’ and a ‘buyer’ in a series of short sketches, during which the audience were able to see what they were actually thinking via ‘thought bubbles’ above their heads.  The sketches each revealed a lesson about pitching, which was then explored in more detail after the sketch by the Format People partners.

The session was very well attended and received, as this comment in an email I received from a young producer the following day:

“Can I just say on a personal, business withstanding, note that the presentation that you and Michel delivered was amazing in your do’s and don’ts of pitching, I’m a young producer representing a big company, this was my first MIP and your insight was, not only useful, but well delivered and made me laugh AT least 6 times.”


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Strong launch for “Chef In Your Ear” France 2!


“Chef In Your Ear”, aka “Un Chef A L’Oreille” hits the ground running on France 2, with a 40% increase on the daily stripped slot.

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Michel Explores Opportunities in Asia


TFP Michel Rodrigue chaired a timely panel on the opportunities to partner, produce and develop content in Asia, despite stricter regulations in China over foreign content at RealScreen in Washington:

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Syco Entertainment Signs Development Deal With Star China


The 3-year-deal, brokered by The Format People, will see the ‘X Factor’ producer develop global entertainment formats with Star China Media, one of China’s leading media companies.



Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment has signed a three-year development deal with our client, Star China International Media Ltd, brokered by The Format People.  The new deal focuses on large-scale formats designed to appeal throughout China, with the possibility of international distribution.

The deal was sealed following a four-day conference involving Star China executives Jin Lei (pictured, left), CEO of Canxing Production & Star China Chief Director, Iris Xia, deputy general manager, Nigel Hall, global head of television for Syco Entertainment and George Levendis, Syco’s head of international.

Syco is a joint venture between Simon Cowell (pictured, above right) and Sony Music, and responsible for the Got Talentformat that has been commissioned in 70 territories.

Star China International Media Ltd. is owned by China Media Capital and behind various shiny-floor formats such as Sing! China, The Voice of China, the Chinese version of So You Think You Can Dance and The King of Mask Singer.

“Canxing/Star China is thrilled to partner with Syco, one of the top entertainment companies in the world. We just completed a very inspiring week-long creative session with Syco and our team is excited for the future projects we will co-create. This is the first time Canxing/Star China has entered into such a major collaborative deal with a company outside of China and we are proud to partner with such a prestigious organization as Syco,” said Tian Ming, Star Media CEO, in a statement.

“Syco Entertainment is delighted to partner with Star China in this long-term development deal. Star China has a first-class pedigree of production in China and, for our part at Syco, we believe our visions will help this partnership be truly creative and successful,” added Nigel Hall.

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Three shows I’ve recently consulted on as The Format Doctor stand out because of their genres: Health, Daytime and Animation. Together they prove that ‘formatting’ is not limited to reality, games and drama …

MIPTV 2016 was abuzz over Norwegian format DOCTORS VS INTERNET, which I helped to develop for pubcaster NRK last year.

jggju-vwtjrqibiwvxuvqgqgytqbauwmb43htmmebdeqThe premise of the show (called “What’s Wrong with You?” in Norway) sees two teams compete to diagnose the medical conditions of real people entering the studio, across three rounds. The twist is that while one team is made up of doctors, the other team are ordinary people with access to Google.

I often teach that the best formats answer a question viewers are asking: in this case, can you diagnose yourself better than your doctor? The team I worked with in Oslo already had huge experience producing a health magazine show – now they wanted to branch out into the game show field. Which is where I came in, to help shape and structure their idea according to the grammar of game (and international appeal), without losing the underlying content.

The result? “Doctors vs Internet” launched in March 2016, achieving an astonishing 43% average share across the series. Following each episode an online test asking the question “Should you have been a doctor?” netted 300,000 unique users, each spending over 9 minutes to complete the quiz. A second season has been commissioned for 2017, several options have been sold including Australia, Belgium and Holland, and it has just been picked up in the US by Critical Content, the product behind “Catfish”.

the-goods2-jpg-size-custom-crop-886x650July I was in Toronto working with pubcaster CBC on new daily daytime format THE GOODS, which launched this October.

Recorded live-to-tape in front of a studio audience, this fresh take on lifestyle sees a quartet of expert Hosts (including Steven Sabados from “Steven & Chris”) ‘share everything they know about how to live a happier, healthier and more stylish life’.

The challenge for me was to focus everyone on this core concept – the interconnection of the four hosts/themes – and make it central to everything.   It’s great to see Daytime shaken up with a new format that actively embraces what we all know: that home, health, style and food are not ‘silo’ topics, but interwoven to form the fabric of our lives.

pablo_castleI travel regularly to Northern Ireland to work with government-backed agency NI Screen, and a host of independent producers. Currently in production in Belfast is PABLO – a 52-episode funny and transformative pre-school series for CBeebies mixing live action and 2D animation – which I have consulted on over the past 3 years. 5½ year-old hero Pablo, who is on the autism spectrum, uses his magic crayons to turn his life challenges into fantastic adventures, and his feelings into colourful characters with a voice, in order to face the real world with confidence.

“Pablo” was a only a few lines long when indie prodco Paper Owl first approached me, and whilst I didn’t see animation as ‘formatable’, I absolutely loved the concept from the get-go. And through my work with I came to see that the ‘recipe’ of narrative structure, familiar and original elements, and a mechanism that drives characters through a story was as applicable to animation as to reality or game show. And I’m so glad to have been a part of it. Pablo is distributed by Cake.

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