Endemol picks up '20 Little Piggy Banks'

Producer gets rights to distribute game show worldwide

On the eve of MIPTV, global producer Endemol has snapped up the format rights to a new entertainment game show called "The 20 Little Piggy Banks." The deal gives Endemol rights to distribute the format worldwide, excluding France and Spain.

"Piggy Banks" was co-created by Spanish producer Phileas and by TF1 Prods. -- the French broadcaster's in-house production company. TF1 recently produced three pilots of the show.

" 'The 20 Little Piggy Banks' is a brilliant play-along game show, which we believe has great potential as a global format," Endemol sales exec Grant Ross said.

In "Piggy Banks," contestants compete to win grand prizes hidden in personalized banks. Players aim to accumulate as many "piggies" as possible by answering general knowledge questions. In the endgame all remaining piggies will be smashed to pieces to reveal the prizes. Along the way, there is the chance that contestants could leave empty-handed if they stumble across a black coin.

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In another development, Endemol has wooed respected Disney and FremantleMedia executive Naomi Joseph to take control of its burgeoning scripted division, which produced over 1,900 hours of scripted fare in 2009.

As executive director of international scripted programming, Joseph will be responsible for coordinating and driving Endemol's growing portfolio of scripted formats, reporting to Endemol's international operations head Martha Brass.

Endemol's scripted business is long established in such markets as Spain, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands, and the company best known for reality shows like "Big Brother" and "Wipeout" is pushing for expansion in a host of other territories.

Joseph will consolidate scripted fare coming out of the recent acquisitions of scripted production companies Tiger Aspect and Darlow Smithson in the U.K., Weit Media in Russia and Wiedemann & Berg Television in Germany.

Joseph joins Endemol from the Walt Disney Company where she was executive director, formats development, EMEA, leading the company's formats team in adapting, selling and executive producing both scripted and non-scripted series. India and Argentina are also expansion markets.

She previously worked at FremantleMedia for 12 years, most recently as executive vice president, worldwide drama where she was involved in developing, selling and executive producing five-days-a-week serial dramas, telenovelas, one hour primetime dramas and sitcoms.

Elizabeth Guider reported from Los Angeles. Mimi Turner reported from London.