BBC Studios and Japan’s Nippon TV have partnered to co-develop a new comedy gameshow format Koso Koso.

BBC Studios will act as distributor for the format globally, with Nippon TV leading distribution in Asia. The format launches to international customers at BBC Studios Showcase in February 2024.

The new format is the result of a co-development partnership between the two companies and Asia-based content incubator Empire of Arkadia (EOA).

The comedy gameshow format, Koso Koso sees celebrity secret agents prank unsuspecting contestants to win them a cash prize. The contestants think they are in a reality show, unaware of the secret squad of celebrity agents constantly observing their every move. These undercover agents must skilfully complete ridiculous missions without arousing suspicion to win cash for the clueless contestants. Once the missions conclude, the biggest secret is revealed: contestants find out about the gameshow they never knew they were playing and face a final challenge to win the cash prize. With laugh-out-loud missions and big reveals, this unique family gameshow is defined by its surreal, shareable content.

The pilot aired in Japan in June 2023 on Nippon TV’s flagship commercial broadcast network.

Suzy Lamb, MD of BBC Studios Entertainment productions said: “We’ve really enjoyed working  with the development team at Nippon TV on what has been an exciting creative process. Bringing together the experience and ideas from us in BBC Studios and Nippon TV has been hugely beneficial.  Together we have created a format which may not have happened in isolation – it’s a real coming together of UK and Japanese creativity to create a format that will have wide appeal.”

Tom Miyauchi, Head of Formats, Content Business & Distribution at Nippon TV said, “Our partnership with BBC Studios and Empire of Arkadia, will spearhead both creatives and distribution across vast territories in both east and west, as reputably covered by each party. Koso Koso celebrates both hilarious comedic elements with strong reality aspects as garnered by producers from both ends of the world for a global audience.”

Fotini Paraskakis, Founder of EOA said “Our aim is to leverage creative gaps in the highly competitive unscripted market, by creating a format based on known international structures with the addition of fresh Japanese creative twists. We are truly thrilled with this achievement. It’s been an amazing plus incredible journey to see how two powerful and very culturally different platforms have come together, with our support, to create something unique that really addresses content demands today.”

Emma Hardie, Commercial Director, International Production and Formats at BBC Studios said: “We are delighted to collaborate with partners from around the world to share expertise and co-develop new, exciting and original ideas to bring to a global audience.”

The project was brokered by EOA Founder, Fotini Paraskakis, Daniel Thomas, Head of Format Acquisitions on behalf of BBC Studios and Tom Miyauchi, Head of Formats, Content Business & Distribution, Global Business, on behalf of Nippon TV.

The agreement builds on the established relationship between the BBC Studios International Production and Formats team and Nippon TV. Earlier this year BBC Studios licenced the Doctor Foster format to Nippon TV. The local version premiered on Nippon TV’s new Friday night drama slot targeted at young female audiences, as well as streamed on SVOD and AVOD.

Jon Creamer

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