Zombies take top pitching prize in Cannes

What’s hot in the TV world? A show testing ‘skull protection’ and ‘improvised bullet’ skills

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, where the television and digital content industry has gathered this week for the MIPTV marketplace.

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, where the television and digital content industry has gathered this week for the MIPTV marketplace.

Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 01:08

In an unexpected turn of events, the television and film industry’s love affair with zombies has now reached the, er, reality genre.

Zombie Boot Camp, an Australian reality show that trains 16 contestant for “the fight of their lives” – the zombie apocalypse, of course – won the MIPTV International Format Pitch competition in Cannes, which comes with €25,000 of development money courtesy of sponsor Warner Bros International Television Production.

The format, owned by Sydney-based company The Feds, features survival challenges testing skills “in everything from skull protection to improvised bullets”, while the finale promises “the greatest zombie battle ever seen”.

Ireland had two formats among the five finalists. Tyrone Productions was shortlisted for The Means Test, a quiz show in which each of the 100 contestants’ performance is measured against the average score and they have to stay above average to remain in play.

Sideline Productions also made the pitching final, with The Power of Love (working title).

The series, billed as “the Downton Abbey of TV dating shows”, aims to bring its audience “back to the era of old-fashioned courtship”, and though it missed out on the award, the company already has a distribution agreement in place for the format.

TV3, which is ramping up its format sales, is confident “Ireland could be the new Israel” when it comes to television export success, citing a comment by Virginie Mouseler, chief executive of The WIT, a research agency specialising in worldwide television trends.

“Keep a close eye on Ireland this year. In terms of formats, it could be the new Israel,” Mouseler told the MIPTV conference.

Israeli dramas Prisoners of War and BeTipul have been remade in the US as Homeland and In Treatment respectively, while it is also the country of origin for the thriller Hostages and (yet another) talent search show, Rising Star.