TV formats – why buy them, when you can just steal them??

Phew. The row that has been going on for a couple of weeks now is just getting messier and messier – and I must admit I’m a bit disappointed, though not overly surprised. C21 has the story, but to make it brief, this is what happened:

A memo from ABC leaked. The memo, from the exec VP of ABC Studios, encourages everyone not to license formats from abroad. Instead, they should be brought to ABC.s creative studios to be “evaluated”, to see if the “underlying premises” can be used without licensing the format itself.

Phew once again, I say. As a format creator, this is what I fear the most. We have some pretty original and nice ideas going at the moment, but WHY ON EARTH would I pitch them to someone who is instructed by his or her boss to steal the “underlying premises”?? Sheesh… I mean, a year ago we were debating whether we should pitch one of our ideas to Endemol or not – seeing as Endemol has a reputation for nicking ideas – when we had a scheduled meeting with them. In the end, we did pitch it, but only because it was pretty funky and relied a lot on technical stuff.

ABC, don’t expect much sympathy from the format owners. Last I heard FRAPA were going to have some serious talks with you guys.

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