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LONDON – Discovery Communications’ fast-growing Discovery Networks International unit has greenlit two lifestyle series for the international TLC networks that come from betty, the U.K. production house that the company acquired in 2011.
The shows are Taste Off, a half-hour cooking-themed show that got an eight-episode order, and the hour-long fashion-focused Ultimate Shopper, which is getting a seven-episode run for now.
“Fashion and food are two of TLC’s most popular genres, and the commissioning of Taste Off and Ultimate Shopper – inspired by Real Time Italy’s hit series Shopping Night – taps into the essence of what our female flagship channels are all about,” said Luis Silberwasser, chief content officer and executive vp, DNI.
The shows are part of DNI’s focus on becoming another content engine for Discovery Communications. “We are one year into a major change,” Silberwasser said. “We have created a second content engine that is complementary to what the U.S. is doing and has an international outlook for all international networks.”
Part-travelogue, part competitive culinary show, Taste Off follows British chef and restaurateur Aaron Craze as he takes on “homegrown food heroes” around the world to show that he can make national dishes as well as the locals. Craze won Jamie’s Chef, a show with Jamie Oliver that aired several years ago. In the final episode of Taste Off, all dishes will be cooked and judged to find one ultimate winner.
Ultimate Shopper is about four fashionistas going head-to-head in a series of challenges. A judging panel of experts includes singer and pop culture icon Holly Valance, fashion expert Brix Smith Start and photographer Paul Hartnett, along with a special guest judge.
Ultimate Shopper is a “souped up version of Shopping Night, which does gangbusters on our Italian channel,” Silberwasser said. That show is the top show in primetime on the network.
How did DNI pick the talent for the international version? “We are trying to have talent that we can use around the world and that we think people will connect with in different parts of the world,” Silberwasser explained. Instead of setting the show at a Milan store as in the Italian version, DNI is using a neutral shopping area built for the show to ensure appeal beyond national borders.
Commissioned by Julian Bellamy, head of production and development, DNI, the series will be available in over 150 international markets.
“These series are totally in our blood – being a sassy and competitive take on fashion, and a food show with a great twist taking on the local experts,” said Liz Warner, CEO of betty. “Both will feature great presenting talent we have found, which is one of our known strengths.”
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