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With 5 Gold Rings, Talpa thinks it may have cracked the toughest nut in reality TV: the interactive format.
Every major player in the nonscripted space has been trying to make reality TV interactive, to stitch together the AARP-heavy live TV audiences with millennial-friendly multiscreen viewers. Everyone, so far, has failed. (Remember ABC’s short-lived Rising Star? Didn’t think so.)
5 Gold Rings is Talpa’s big interactive play. The trivia show, in which contestants place gold rings over their answers on a giant LED screen while viewers play along at home on their phones, has just been renewed for a second season on Britain’s ITV and is also on the air in France and the Netherlands.
“We really focused on embedding interactivity in the initial phase of the content process, so it doesn’t come as an afterthought but is truly integrated and feels natural,” says Maarten Meijs, managing director of Talpa Global. “There needs to be a level of interactivity and connectivity to reach our viewers where they are.”
It’s still too early to say whether 5 Gold Rings will be the interactive breakout the market has been waiting for. Compared to Talpa juggernauts like The Voice, it is still a minnow, sold to just a handful of territories. NBC commissioned a U.S. pilot of the format but passed on the series, and Talpa is currently rethinking its American strategy.
“It’s a very technical show, and we are attempting to have the exact same game on mobile devices as we have on live TV,” says de Mol. “The challenge is to get the viewer to download the app and play along, but the penetration [for the U.K. version] was very high and will hopefully grow in season two.”
Interactive or not, Talpa is betting big on a game show revival at this year’s MIPCOM, with an array of formats, including The Big Picture, Divided and What Do I Know?, tapping into a new vogue for the genre (think ABC’s revivals of Match Game and Pyramid).
“You see that this genre, one of the oldest genres on television, is coming back,” says Meijs. “The challenge is always to be original, to add interactive technology components when they make sense and, most of all, to take risks.”
This story first appeared in the Oct. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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