Industry veterans Georges Leclere and Malachy Wienges are aiming to formatise the news debate show and are taking a Covid-19-themed project out into the developing world.
So much of the television industry discussion during the Covid-19 pandemic has been about the physical practicalities and regulatory hurdles of actually making shows. Quarantines, PPE, social distancing on set, smaller crews, regular testing and the extra time and cost of all these things have been front of mind as television has grappled with exactly what can be produced at the moment and what needs to go on hold.
Buyers have also been cautious about commissioning shows specifically related to or focusing on the pandemic. There’s a fear of audience burnout. Stuck in their homes for so long with nothing else to think about but the pandemic and everything that comes with it, by the time they get to the end of their work-from-home day the last thing they need is more Covid-19 chat and programmes filmed on Zoom. Escapism, family-friendly, co-viewing experiences are certainly the watchwords of many buyer interviews at the moment.
But there is still a hunger for information about the virus, the world’s path out of it and back to normality and the lasting effects on the economy, health services, travel and so on. The evening news bulletins regularly dominate the ratings top 10 in the UK, US and elsewhere, and there is also increasing anger and debate about how different countries approach lockdown, vaccinations, travel restrictions and other elements of the situation.
Two veterans of the TV industry are looking to put that thirst for knowledge and differences of opinions to good use with a new format. For now titled The Avenir Format Show, it is the brainchild of Georges Leclere and Malachy Wienges.
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