EXCLUSIVE: ITV Studios has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which wiped out 230 of its shows and slashed profits by 43% to 152 million pounds ($ 212 million). But Maarten Meijs, president of ITV Studios’ global entertainment division, looks on the bright side and said the crisis has brought “silver liners”.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly the approach the UK animation team at ITV Studios took last year when they moved into an entertainment show at success. I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! from Australia to an abandoned castle in Wales. This resulted in some of the best ratings in the show’s 19-year history on ITV, as stars grappled with the ends of the British winter, rather than the creature-riddled steam box that is. the Australian outback.
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Such has been the success of the so-called ‘castle version’, Meijs said international buyers have made their interest known and ITV Studios is now on the verge of creating a I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! Castle turnkey production center in Poland. The company has identified an actual castle in the eastern European country that can be used as a permanent residence for the show, and is now awaiting the imminent green light from two unidentified international partners before the set is built.
“We are learning all the lessons from the 20th season of I am a celebrity … in the UK and, in fact, create new spin-offs. It has rejuvenated the brand and there is interest from multiple parties in both versions, ”said Meijs. “We are waiting for two productions to build it.”
I am a celebrity … is one of ITV Studios’ most prominent brands and has been produced in 10 territories including Australia, Denmark, Germany, India and Sweden. The format aired in the United States on ABC in 2003 and NBC in 2009, but neither network renewed the show, in which stars are dropped into a remote jungle and earn food for their camp by attending. Bushtucker Trials.
The UK version is hosted by beloved presenter duo Ant and Dec. ITV hopes to bring the show back to Australia this year, travel restrictions permitting, but ITV CEO Carolyn McCall told the press that Gwrych Castle in Wales was a useful contingency plan. “If we can go back to Australia – and this show is supposed to be in Australia – then that’s what we’ll do. If not, we have a very good plan, ”she said.
Meijs described the renewed international interest in I am a celebrity … as the “ray of hope” of the pandemic, adding that international versions of Love island have also been transformed for the better because of the coronavirus. ITV Studios has built a Love island production center in Gran Canaria, a Spanish island off the African coast. The Dutch version of the show is shot at the production center, with Norway and Italy set to follow.
The idea is that there is a villa location, where producers have perfected coronavirus safety protocols and established trusting relationships with local hotels and transport companies to protect production bubbles. “In doing so, we can live with the production protocols that have been put in place, but also protect our production costs and the additional cost that Covid brings, which is important for customers,” added Meijs. “The climate is also an important factor, and Gran Canaria ticks a lot of the boxes because you can go on vacation most of the year.”
However, Meijs wouldn’t question whether the UK version could be produced at the hub. ITV is evaluating its options for the reality show and has reportedly spotted alternative sites in Mallorca, such as the island of Jersey, off the coast of France. “The question of ‘where’ is definitely the one they are working on,” Meijs said.