About five years ago, streaming, led by Netflix, officially entered the field of unscripted entertainment.
This, combined with the fact that broadcast networks remain disproportionately successful with unscripted programming, presents plenty of opportunity for producers to create new forms of entertainment.
Enter the former chef Showrunners Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton, also executive producers of the Fox cooking show, launched old schoolan independent production company with Netflix in 2018 final tablethe anchor entered the food field for the first time.
Since then, the duo have worked with Helen Mirren, Tan France, Alexa Chung and Gigi Hadid, among others Live lots of sparkly ground entertainment.
They’re now gearing up for Netflix’s second season premiere next fada design competition series with Hadid succeeding the clock, joined by the likes of Hailey Bieber, Emma Chamberlain, Bella Hadid and Donatella Versace, and a group of designers vying for $200,000.
Ashbrook moved to Los Angeles from the UK in 2008, where he worked as an unscripted creative director then called Shine, launching and executive producing nine seasons chef and launch little chef and NBC’s little big man. Here he talks to Deadline about the transition from linear to streaming, and what he’s going to do next.
chefIt was a hit when it launched in 2010, starring Gordon Ramsay.But ironically, Ashbrook’s company also produced baking squad For Netflix, no food show has ever been made before.
“In the beginning, I thought, I know how to make a game show. What makes this Gordon-centric food show work? If you look at the grammar and bones chef, I basically turned it into a game show because that’s all I know, there’s food around. The rule of that show was to have the audience guess every three minutes,” he said. “You could take its structure, it could apply to flower arrangements, baking, singing or dancing. I would like to think that the perception of us is not that we just make food. “
Now Ashbrook and Shackleton are walking the runway next fadlaunching its second season today, three years after the first season.
The show is popular in a similar way to other fashion design competition series, but like many popular shows, whether it’s American idol or sound, It just adds something different for the viewer to enjoy.
“I’m not afraid of broad familiarity. Audiences don’t always need to find something they’ve never heard of before. There are project runway and entry pointthey’re both great shows, like having four singing shows, but our shots are slightly different, and there’s room for them all,” he said.
“next fad It’s filling the void, feeling younger, fashion has fun with a capital F, it’s not as serious as the others. You just have to find enough of it to make it feel special,” he added.
The next fad, the baking squad and final table All for Netflix. But Ashbrook thinks all of these shows could also be made for linear networks. “It’s more so now than it was four years ago, and I think they can all live on the network. Netflix found they could bring people into those bigger, broader, co-watched entertainment shows, but it’s not that different. … Same thing with the next release on NBC or ABC,” he said.
The Old School is now looking to build on its fashion and culinary credentials in other areas of entertainment — it has several other food shows in the works, including one involving takeout. Ashbrook said they are working on new game show ideas and adventure series.
“This looks like a series that doesn’t necessarily have to be on stage. Just the location, which is why season 556 amazing game’ he joked.
But focus is also important; don’t expect The Old School to dabble in true crime, documentary soaps or podcasts. “Focus, to us, is a word to hug rather than embarrass. If you’re a truly independent company like we are, we can’t afford to be distracted. If we take the focus off the ball in this way Open, it’s just us, there’s no bigger studio space that would allow us enough playtime to do that.”
Speaking of Studios, The Old School Partners with Warner Bros. Unscripted Television and Warner Horizon Harry Potter: Hogwarts House Tournamentstarring Mirren, was a huge success for TBS and Cartoon Network.
A growing number of unscripted shows are being made with HBO Max’s pricey intellectual property looking for magic mike to Netflix squid game Reboots of reality TV series and classic quiz shows, such as ABC’s Celebrity dating game.
Is The Old School watching the avenue? “It’s funny you say that because we just had a dev meeting where we were talking about how many places are currently working hard on development the last of us As a game,” he said. “We’re in a good place [in the unscripted industry] Because it doesn’t have to be a fully known IP, e.g. star wars Quiz shows, but people only want big, broad shows. There are a lot of unscripted producers looking for IP, and that’s an efficient route that could work, but we’re small, so I wouldn’t spend six months sending someone to do an IP deal. “
Even the biggest unscripted hits cost far less to produce than scripted series, which opens up more opportunities for alternative producers given the cost-consciousness of the TV and film world right now, especially as the scripted world may face a writers’ strike case for the next few months.
But Ashbrook acknowledged that costs could come down. “Someone might pay $1 million for four years for an episode, but you might now need to find a way to make it for $800,000. But to be clear, if you build a car for $20,00, you might now would ask you to build it for $16,000, that’s the state of the economy and I don’t think that will reflect [TV] Business. Honestly, we never sit at a whiteboard and start a price point presentation, we start with what excites us,” he added.
If The Old School continues to deliver entertainment, it’s clear it will also be considered an M&A option, as non-script producers continue to be snapped up by the likes of Sony and Fremantle.
Would Ashbrook consider joining a bigger team? “I just naively love doing shows, and every year, we’re building rosters, we’re building relationships, and in just four years, we’ve put out two or three returning brands. I don’t think a big studio like Darth Vader, But now, why don’t I keep doing what we’re doing. Ask me in two or three years,” he said. “We set this up by accident, so it kind of tells you there’s no strategy to make $50B and buy Manchester City FC.”