BBC Hunts for Saturday Hit, Calls 'Voice' Coach Will.i.am a "National Treasure"
The U.K. public broadcaster is looking for a big entertainment show that can sit alongside the music competition and 'Strictly Come Dancing'
The BBC is on the hunt for a big Saturday night entertainment show that can mirror the success of such weekend hits as Strictly Come Dancing, known in the U.S. as Dancing With the Stars, and The Voice.
The BBC's entertainment commissioning department has asked independent producers to pitch "great new ideas for big-scale Saturday night entertainment shows" that can "sit alongside" the existing hit shows, the U.K. public broadcaster said in confirming a report by Broadcast magazine.
The report said the broadcaster was looking for a show for its flagship network BBC One that has "huge scale and sense of event." Tumble, a celebrity gymnastics show that the BBC had developed in house, averaged 3.3 million viewers and will not return for a second season.
In a brief sent to producers, they were asked to pitch ideas by this Friday. The BBC is then expected to draw up a short list next month, with remaining ideas set to be pitched to BBC One controller Charlotte Moore and entertainment controller Mark Linsey in January, according to Broadcast.
"We need human stories that people can relate and react to," the brief sent to indie producers said, highlighting that "unlikely talent" will be considered for roles on the shows. "Will.i.am has become a national treasure due to his sense of humor and naughtiness on The Voice," Broadcast quoted the brief as saying.
Coming up with Saturday night entertainment hits has proven a challenge in Britain. "It's hugely challenging, and I think it's globally challenging," Danny Cohen, the director of BBC Television told THR last year. "Expectations are so high."