Gila Kantar’s creation, Beat Me If You Can, debuted strong in Saudi Arabia’s SBC, where it will come back for a second season later this year. Now, Global Agency’s new original creation is looking for more partners around the world.
The news that SBC had commissioned a second season of Beat Me if You Can, Global Agency’s fresh singing format, was a great start to the distributor’s week at the recent Miptv 2022.
The show, a creation of Global Agency’s co-founder, Gila Kantar, was a huge success in the Arab world, with its first season grand finale being broadcast to 22 different territories and the video clips gathering more than seven million views on platforms like TikTok.
“I believe this is going to be the new generation music show as it has many unique elements for the audience,” says Kantar, interviewed by ttvnews during the recent edition of Miptv. “There is already a lot of interest from all over the world.”
How did the idea for the show originate?
I have been on this business for the last 15 years. I have been pitching formats to my costumers, maybe around 400 or 500 formats so far, and I knew what buyers were looking for. It was always on my mind to create something fresh and I knew that if I wanted to create something one day it was going to be a singing project, because I personally also like to watch singing shows.
The idea just came to me. One day I was looking through a magazine and I saw a lady looking through a house and the house had all more than 20 windows and I said “oh instead of this lady I could have two judges and in each of the windows I can put contestants so the juries can choose the contestants to battle each other”. So the idea came from just a feature in a magazine.
After the idea flourished, how much time did it take to evolve and eventually become a TV show?
It took some time, over two years, to develop the project. I wanted to find the right time to pitch it to our customers. We were [at Miptv] three years ago, we pitched it to our customers: they all like the idea, but it was a high budget project, as a shiny prime time show, and they were too shy to buy the paper format. It took like three years to convince a broadcaster, but finally SBC, the public channel of Saudi Arabia [came forward]. Although they never buy European projects, because they always produce their own local brands, they believed in our idea and then it took like nine months to create the studio, to choose the best jurors and all the production things. Finally they started the productions two months ago. They spent over 1,5 million dollars in the production. They had a lot of success and were very happy with the results and ratings and just last week they did the grand finale; it was live and broadcast at the same time to 22 territories in the Arab world.
How happy was everyone involved with the end result of the Beat Me if You Can on SBC?
Everything went well and they said they wanted to commission the second season in December of this year. They are thinking of doing a pan-Arabic version, or they will go in the summer season, city by city, to search for the best voices. We are very excited for the second season because they will be more experienced and they will have much better voices. They will also keep the same jurors, because they were very successful.
The show was also a great success on social media. How relevant is that?
SBC used social media in a very effective way. On Twitter, it became a trending topic many times and some of the show’s videos were watched over 7 million times on TikTok, which is huge. The winner was a very modern lady from Saudi Arabia. She was not covered, wore a very modern dress; she represented the modern face of the new Saudi woman. I was proud that the winner was a lady and they were really happy that she was the winner.
How the show does differentiates itself in such a crowded genre?
This is not a repeat show at all. There are many shows around the market that are repeating itself; they are very similar to other ideas. This is absolutely a unique idea. And what makes it very nice and watchable, is that it is not only a singing show, but also a game show. There is a memory element inside and there is also a strategy element. It has many new and fresh elements. The decoration, the look of the studio is amazing, very colorful. There are ten cabinets, ten different colored cabinets, in each of them there is one singer. The jury doesn’t know who is in each cabinet and they have to open two cabinets for each song. It is very stressful for the contestants, because they are inside the cabinets and when the doors open they have to continue the game. They know the nine songs of the night, but they have no idea when they are going to be on stage, with whom they will do the duet or which part of the song they are going to sing, so for them is a very stressful waiting. Inside the cabinets there are hidden cameras so you can see their stress: they are waiting anxiously. You as a viewer are sharing their tense moments with them.
How do the winners get decided?
The jurors are just choosing the contestants, and after the performance, they give their comments, but the audience is the one that will have the last word. The audience chooses who goes to their cabinet and continue the game and who has to leave the show.
What do you expect for Beat Me if You Can going forward?
The story started like with SBC and now we are looking for franchises all around the world. We had great meetings during Miptv 2022, with great broadcasters from European countries, so let’s see what will happen.