UKTV has commissioned Format Labs, a factual entertainment pilot season for their flagship entertainment channel Watch.
Format Labs consists of five transmittable pilots for potential factual entertainment series, all of which will air on Watch later this year. The pilots come from such indies as Riverdog Productions, CPL Productions, Objective Productions,Crook Productions, Showem, North One Television and Bedlam Productions.
The five pilots that make up the season are Seven Envelopes, which follows seven contestants who are filmed all day before opening an envelope which may contain up to £10, 000; Honey I Bought The House, in which a couple is given £15 000 to buy their first home, before they are separated with one of them having to buy a property within a week or lose the cash; Who Repairs Wins, which pits tradesmen against each other as they compete for big money-making jobs; Memory Slam, a documentary following the final of the UK Schools Memory Championships; and Supersize My Job, “raises the stakes in the workplace” by challenging people to take on new experiences including having a pint-puller from a village pub trying his hands mixologist in a top London bar.
The season was commissioned by UKTV’s Commissioning Editors Hilary Rosen, Iain Coyle and Catherine Catton, all three of whom will oversee various pilots. Format Labs is in a similar vein to Sky’s Little Crackers or Channel 4’s Coming Up and is the latest in a growing trend of returning to seasons/strands to pilot new projects. The season came about after UKTV issued a call out to independent production companies to pitch innovative factual entertainment formats for bold new ideas for Watch’s and UKTV said that they hope that it will result in at least one pilot moving to series.
“Innovative formats are hugely under-served at the moment and we’re making the most of our agility to grab this opportunity and make Watch a leader in this important area”, said UKTV’s Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham. “I’m excited about the potential not only to take some of these ideas to series but also to make the lab a recurring event for us.”
While Steve North, General Manager of Watch, added: “Watch is increasingly looking for bold original commissions and for formats that give a factual entertainment skin to experiences that resonate with our audience. The commissions bring an interesting mix of game show, competition and lightly-formatted documentary to Watch’s portfolio of original content.”