Television production conglomerate Banijay Group recently raised €365 million ($416 million) which will be used to pay for the acquisition of Castaway Television Productions, the company that owns the format rights to Survivor, Variety reports. A deal was reached back in March between Banijay and Castaway’s owners, Bob Geldof, Lord Waheed Alli, and Charlie Parsons, the man who created the original format for the globally successul island competition show.
The new agreement would see UK-based Banijay Rights, the international distribution division of Banijay Group, add Survivor to its wide catalogue of TV formats. As Variety points out, this means that Banijay will have Survivor in its lineup for MIPCOM in October, a trade show held in Cannes where TV studios and broadcasters buy and sell new programmes and formats for international distribution.
The deal will not effect the U.S. production of Survivor, which is heading into its 35th season this fall, but what it means is we could start seeing more international versions of Survivor popping up around the world. In particular, Banijay have their sights set on bringing Survivor back to the UK. Two series of Survivor UK aired on the ITV network from 2001 to 2002 but the show never found mass popularity and was overshadowed at the time by Big Brother UK, which became a national sensation. The original UK version was produced by Nigel Lythgoe for Planet 24 – Geldof, Parsons and Lord Alli’s previous production company which they later sold to Carlton Television.
Banijay Group’s COO Peter Langenberg spoke to Broadcast Now about the potential return of Survivor in the UK, stating that RDF, the largest UK production company within Banijay, is attempting to rekindle interest in the format. “Having hands on the format means we can polish it and come up with Survivor 2.0, because it needs a refresh,” Langenberg said. “It’s a good format – it has to be, it’s in 25 to 30 countries. Look at Love Island, I’m A Celebrity…, The Island – these types of shows work in the UK.”
Survivor is a major player for Banijay in Europe, especially in France, Italy, and Spain, and the new deal would mean it could centralise production.
What do you think about a potential Survivor UK? Could it work? Let us know in the comments.