Channel 10’s 'Winning Couple VIP' Format Sells to U.S., Europe

U.S. version of show to be produced by team behind Gordon Ramsay reality series 'Hell’s Kitchen.'

Tal Shahar

The format for Channel 10’s “Winning Couple VIP” reality show has been sold for spin-offs in the United States, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, it was announced Wednesday.

“Winning Couple VIP” was developed by Abot Hameiri Productions and a partnership called the Cinema Trusts Investments in Movies. Stock in the partnership gained nearly 18% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Wednesday on the news of the sale.

The agreement between Cinema and Abot Hameiri calls for Cinema to receive 30% of the profits initially, with the remaining 70% going to Abot. In the United States, the show will be produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, whose stable offerings include “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.

International distribution rights to “Winning Couple VIP” are being handled by the Dori Media Group, which is expected to get a 30% to 40% share of the revenues from the sale of the format.

“Winning Couple VIP,” which ran on Channel 10 between February and April this year, brought together eight couples, who competed for cash prizes. In the course of the season, viewers also learned about the competitors’ own domestic lives. Several months ago, the format was sold to FremantleMedia for the major Portuguese television network SIC.

The season of the Portuguese version has been produced and begun to air, attracting large audiences. It has even attracted higher ratings than the Portuguese version of the popular singing competition format “The Voice,” the Cinema Trusts partnership reported.

Cinema Trusts partnership invested about 1.5 million shekels ($438,000) in the show’s initial run, but said it conservatively estimates potential profits of $2 million from the sale of the first season of the format to production companies abroad, and $2.5 million for a second season.

Esther Front, who controls and manages the partnership, said she expects “Winning Couple VIP” to be sold in other overseas markets as well. The partnership’s business model is based on an effort to develop formats that can then be sold overseas. It is currently working on two other formats – one called “The Truck” and the other entitled “Baby You Can Do It.”

On a worldwide basis, the sale of television formats generates annual revenues estimated at $3.5 billion. In recent years, formats for a large number of shows developed in Israel have found a receptive audience abroad.

Among them is “Rising Star,” a show that belongs to Channel 2 franchisee Keshet and has generated an estimated $1 million per season overseas for the Israeli company. It debuted in the United States on ABC in June.