Q&A: Remy Blumenfeld


LONDON -- Formats are a big global business that is only getting bigger, as tough times and tougher advertising markets mean that broadcasters are ever more in need of bankable shows that can deliver audiences and minimize risk. Mimi Turner, The Hollywood Reporter's European television editor, caught up with format wunderkind Remy Blumenfeld, director of global formats for ITV Studios, and took the temperature of the market heading into MIPCOM.

The Hollywood Reporter: What are audiences looking for?

Remy Blumenfeld: Audiences everywhere want formats that are relatable, that you put yourself in the format and say, "That's me," or "I wish that was me." Freshness and originality are as important as ever, but with all the difficulties affecting people's lives they don't want to have to lean too far forward to understand which is why twists on old formats and the use of familiar architecture is particularly in vogue.

THR: What sort of innovations or trends are you seeing going into the market?

Blumenfeld: Broadcasters are looking for for greater creativity from format suppliers who can be resourceful and responsive to local needs. Instead of supplying carbon copy formats, we see working with global broadcast partners in international territories as an opportunity to develop and deliver the best quality shows with good economies of scale which are individually perfect for each and every separate deal.

THR: You've talked about ITV Studios developing creative partnerships -- how does this work and who are you working with?

Blumenfeld: Sometimes we work with a production company assigned by the broadcaster, like RTL Prods., who we work with on "Pressure Cooker" for RTL5, or MidiTech India who we work with on "I'm a Celebrity" for Sony Entertainment Television India. Sometimes it's through a production company we own, like Silverback Prods., who make "I'm a Celebrity" for TV4 in Sweden.

THR: What are you hoping for out of this year's MIPCOM?

Blumenfeld: We will be looking to develop and promote our existing powerhouse brands such as "I'm a Celebrity," "Come Dine With Me" and "Hell's Kitchen" and launch a variety of exciting new formats, including "Four Weddings," a reality competition hybrid following four brides-to-be in the buildup to their big day, and "The Chase," the access-prime series that sees four contestants pitting their brainpower against the Chaser, a ruthless quiz genius determined to stop them winning at all costs.