The Top Scripted Formats Traveling the World: ‘Your Honor,’ ‘Liar’ and ‘No Activity’ Top List as Global Scripted Adaptations Surge in Popularity

Israeli crime drama “Your Honor,” which was adapted by Showtime as the Bryan Cranston-led thriller, has been revealed as the most successful new scripted format in the last three years by U.K. media intelligence consultancy K7 Media.

The Yes Studios-produced scripted format has had seven adaptations since 2020, including the Showtime series, alongside versions in India, France, Russia, Germany, Italy and Turkey.

Other top-performing scripted formats with five or six new adaptations since 2020 include ITV’s he said-she said thriller “Liar” out of Britain; Stan’s Australian police comedy “No Activity”; Argentinian parenting telenovela “Dear Daddies” from Telefe; and the French showbiz dramedy “Call My Agent!” from France Télévisions (France 2).

The ranking forms part of K7 Media’s report “Tracking the Scripted Giants: The Top 100 Travelling Formats,” which incorporates data submitted directly by international distributors. The 2023 edition of the report — which marks the first instalment since 2019 — focused specifically on new adaptations that have launched over the three-year period from the start of 2020 to the end of 2022.

According to the latest data, the number of new international scripted adaptations has surged by over 50% in the past three years alone: In 2020, there were a total of 51 adaptations, which rose to 77 adaptations in 2022. This is likely due to the fact that a scripted format is based on a strong proof of concept that has already proven itself as a ratings driver or something that generates social media buzz. In a challenged content landscape where most broadcasters and streamers are operating on a “fewer, bigger, better” model that values tried-and-tested IP, a scripted format makes good business sense. Moreover, a proven format also eliminates the need for extensive development and planning processes.

The “Tracking the Giants” report also includes a list of the Top 100 scripted formats of all time, illustrating which TV stories are most adaptable between cultures.

The top-selling genres have been comedy, crime and thriller. Comedy formats have experienced rapid growth, accounting for 22% of all new launches since 2020, while crime remains a strong genre, representing 15% of all new adaptations. Many recent scripted formats include strong family or relationship elements that are more universal and can easily cross borders.

On a country basis, the U.K. and Israel stand out as the primary contributors, accounting for more than 35% of all new drama adaptations. South Korea is another creative powerhouse, rapidly climbing the ranks in the past decade and establishing itself as a major source of both drama and entertainment formats.

“Formats for unscripted shows have been an important part of the global TV industry for over 40 years,” K7 Media CEO and founder Keri Lewis Brown said. “But with a growing demand for high quality drama series, more and more markets are adapting scripted dramas for local audiences with actors and scenarios that are familiar to local audiences. It’s a trend that will continue to develop.”

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