October 15, 2018
At the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday, Netflix unveiled four new unscripted original series and one original special that will debut later this year.
In a “Game Changer” session, vp unscripted originals & acquisitions Brandon Riegg announced that the streaming giant would launch the global culinary competition show The Final Table; Death by Magic, a series uncovering the stories of magicians who died performing the dangerous stunts; the game show Flinch; and a show about the soccer club Sunderland.
He also outlined his vision for reality and other unscripted programming offered by the streaming video giant and its expanding work with U.K. production firms and talent.
“We are looking for stories that resonate globally,” Riegg explained. “We are a U.S. company, but global network.” He added that the streamer was also typically leaning towards innovative projects or new angles and twists on known propositions. Beyond big-scale shows, niche projects with a passionate audiences are also of interest to the streamer, Riegg explained.
Ideas can come from around the globe, he emphasized. “We’re looking to do programming from around the world,” Riegg explained, adding that the U.K. was a particular focus area as it was the birthplace of some of the “most innovative” formats in the world.
Is anything missing from Netflix’s unscripted programming? “I don’t think there’s a category that’s missing,” the exec said. “We want to increase our volume” and ensure breadth. Asked if Netflix has had any failed unscripted shows so far, Riegg said no, just shows with varying degrees of success. He also shared that “we get on average 40 to 50 pitches a week.”
Asked about his team’s involvement in productions, Riegg highlighted that “Netflix prides itself on having a lighter touch,” meaning it mostly supports the producers as much as possible.
Some unscripted shows could get localized versions over time, the Netflix executive also told the Edinburgh crowd. Riegg said that Netflix is looking to localize successful unscripted formats in more than one country with the help of the original production firm, if it can work on them.