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TORONTO – Canadian factual producer Proper TV is no stranger to formats.
Former BBC and Mentorn producer Guy O’Sullivan created and directed the original Britain’s Worst Driver series for Five, which is now a global format.
Then the Brit crossed the Atlantic to launch Proper TV in Toronto and produce a local Canada’s Worst Driver version for Discovery Channel.
Now the reality TV producer has the cameras rolling as Canadian drivers of clunkers play adult bumper cars in Last Car Standing, an elimination-style series for Discovery Channel.
“It’s water cooler stuff. It’s like watching a trainwreck. And there’s stakes, because this is their car,” O’Sullivan told The Hollywood Reporter.
But the metal banging action also reveals the stage the Canadian factual producer is at since launching in 2004.
Proper TV built its reputation by adapting international formats for the Canadian market, via a distribution deal with ITV Global Entertainment.
Now O’Sullivan is looking to make original formats for the world market, starting with Last Car Standing.
“We’ve been doing a lot of things right. But I want more of the above: original shows and format shows,” O’Sullivan said.
And the Canadian producer is moving beyond Discovery Channel as a core patron to produce shows for rival Canadian broadcasters, as with Redemption Inc. for the CBC, The Life Of… for History Television, Four Weddings Canada and Make Me Over, Make Me Under for Slice, and Come Date With Me for W.
The indie is also producing more for the American market, with TLC airing Four Weddings Canada stateside as Four Weddings.
And five series are currently in production at Proper TV, ahead of four series launching this fall and another six projects continuing in development.
To forge ahead, Proper TV hired Cathie James, a former factual entertainment production head at the CBC, as its creative director.
James is charged with diversifying the production slate and forging new network partnerships.
“The foundations are getting broader, in what is a highly uncertain time,” O’Sullivan said.
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The Midnight Club