Mipcom: Format Battles Begin as Sony, ITV, Fremantle Unveil Slates

Grillmaster 2013 H
Sony Pictures Television

Love, food, celebrity and a really big boxing glove are in focus as new reality formats vie to be the next big thing.

BERLIN – The battle to be this year’s global reality hit has officially begun, with production giants including FremantleMedia, ITV Studios and Sony Pictures Television rolling out their new nonfiction slates for international TV confab MIPCOM next month.

While music competition shows continue to rule the international airwaves, more domestic concerns -- including food, work and romance -- are in focus in this year’s reality crop. Sony is pitching two foodie-based European formats to buyers at MIPCOM -- the BBQ cooking competition show Grillmaster, which bowed successfully in Denmark and Sweden this summer; and back-to-basics gardening format Grow Make Eat, which BBC Two picked up ahead of the show’s official launch to buyers in Cannes next month.

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ITV Studios, famous for its shiny-floor entertainment programming, doesn’t disappoint with new formats including dance show Stepping Out, in which celebrities and their real-life partners struggle each week to master a new dance genre, and Star’s Little Star, which pairs VIPs with their own kids in a competition to win money for charity.

But ITV is also bringing several shows to Cannes with themes that hit a little closer to home. These include Nordic format Saving Jobs, in which four local companies try to make their business fit for the global marketplace; and reality show My Dream Wedding from TLC, where a camera team follows around a bride-to-be planning a budget wedding who gets surprised with the spare-no-expense lavish event she always dreamed of.

Fremantle mixes genres with its new MIPCOM format Through the Keyhole. The quiz/talk/panel show, recently launched on ITV in the U.K., has viewers tour the homes of their favorite celebrities while a studio panel of other celebs tries to guess whose home they are in. Fremantle is also pinning its global sales hopes on Break the Safe, a hit quiz format on BBC One featuring beat-the-clock tension.

On the sillier side, Fremantle is throwing Boxing Glove in the ring, a comedy format in which hesitation is punished by a punch from a giant boxing glove into a tank of ice-cold water.

At MIPCOM, which runs Oct. 7-10, it will be global broadcasters who determine which, if any, of these new shows have the mettle to become the next international reality show champ.