My out-of-the-couch reaction to Mo Farah’s fantastic 10K win on Saturday was a reminder that there are three categories of Olympic Gold:
Your garden variety step to the top of the podium.
- Solid Gold.
A win that captures very special athletic power and durability.
- Heavy Gold.
The Chinese concept for a win that is a turning point for a people or nation. Farah’s 10K, Kathy Freeman’s 400 in Sydney and Liu Xiang’s 110 hurdles at Athens come to mind.
This Olympic weekend, we turn to the UK Hobbies & Leisure category where Antiques Roadshow earns my Solid Gold medal for placing #1 and #5 on the Top 100 list for 1H 2012.
- Why is AR such a dependable hit?
- How can a 35-year strong series be kept fresh?
- Read on…
Antiques Roadshow is one of the most successful franchises in the history of television:
- It has enjoyed 35 years as a hit series.
- International versions:
- US: AR has been the #1 (or close) PBS show for 15+ years.
- Canada, Sweden and elsewhere.
- Arguably helped shape US #1 reality hit Pawn Stars and countless imitators.
Top 100, Hobbies & Leisure, 1H 2012
Viewers / ‘000
|1||Antiques Roadshow||BBC 1||7,410.2||28.4|
|3||DIY SOS: The Big Build||BBC 1||5,424.3||22.1|
|4||Top Gear||BBC 2||5,294.1||15.4|
|5||Antiques Roadshow: Diamond Jubilee||BBC 1||4,807.2||18.7|
|6||The RHS Chelsea Flower Show||BBC 1||3,498.0||16.3|
|7||The Hairy Bikers’ Bake-Ation||BBC 2||3,220.8||13.0|
|8||Love Your Garden||ITV1||3,215.5||14.1|
|9||The Restoration Man||CH4||2,811.5||10.5|
|10||Location, Location, Location||CH4||2,799.8||10.6|
|12||Bargain Hunt||BBC 1||2,539.0||22.6|
|13||Homes Under the Hammer||BBC 1||2,430.9||26.2|
|15||Gardeners’ World||BBC 2||2,398.0||9.3|
|16||Saturday Kitchen Live||BBC 1||2,370.5||27.0|
|17||The Best of Top Gear||BBC 2||2,360.0||8.9|
|18||Great British Menu||BBC 2||2,311.9||10.9|
|19||Flog It!||BBC 2||2,285.7||10.3|
|20||Antiques Road Trip||BBC 2||2,253.8||16.1|
|21||Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is||BBC 2||2,202.4||12.4|
|22||Gok’s Teens: The Naked Truth||CH4||2,162.0||8.9|
|23||Hairy Bikers’ Best of British||BBC 2||2,155.9||9.6|
|24||Come Dine With Me||CH4||2,083.0||14.5|
|25||Our Food||BBC 2||2,058.3||8.3|
|26||Celebrity Antiques Road Rrip||BBC 2||2,036.5||8.8|
|28||Britain’s Empty Homes||BBC 1||1,951.6||21.0|
|29||Wanted Down Under||BBC 1||1,908.6||28.7|
|30||Four In a Bed||CH4||1,900.6||12.2|
|31||Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers||BBC 1||1,894.4||23.7|
|32||Come Dine With Me: Extra Portions||CH4||1,868.4||9.7|
|33||Country House Rescue||CH4||1,860.1||7.6|
|34||Gardeners’ World Live||BBC 2||1,818.4||6.7|
|35||Rachel Allen: Home Cooking||BBC 1||1,810.6||21.3|
|36||Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking w Rachel Khoo||BBC 2||1,770.4||6.8|
|38||Gok Cooks Chinese||CH4||1,721.3||6.9|
|39||Phil Spencer: Secret Agent||CH4||1,680.8||6.5|
|40||Raymond Blanc: Kitchen Secrets||BBC 1||1,677.7||23.1|
|41||Home Cooking Made Easy||BBC 2||1,632.1||6.2|
|42||Wanted Down Under Revisited||BBC 1||1,619.6||29.1|
|43||Britain’s Heritage Heroes||BBC 2||1,576.2||7.3|
|44||Baking Made Easy||BBC 2||1,570.7||5.8|
|45||Dickinson’s Real Deal||ITV1||1,561.1||19.4|
|46||Two Greedy Italians – Still Hungry||BBC 2||1,512.1||5.9|
|47||Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is||BBC 2||1,440.2||7.7|
|48||The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best||BBC 2||1,422.8||6.8|
|49||Antiques Uncovered||BBC 2||1,388.6||5.3|
|50||Great British Food Revival||BBC 2||1,304.2||5.4|
|51||Hugh’s Three Hungry Boys||CH4||1,285.7||4.6|
|52||Flog it! Ten of the Best||BBC 2||1,196.4||13.7|
|53||May the Best House Win||ITV1||1,183.8||15.3|
|54||60 Minute Makeover||ITV1||1,182.6||14.9|
|55||Something For the Weekend||BBC 2||1,143.2||11.3|
|56||Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars||Channel 5||1,013.2||4.2|
|57||Superscrimpers: Hot Summer Tips||CH4||904.8||3.4|
|59||Saturday Kitchen Best Bites||BBC 2||737.9||8.1|
|60||Chinese Food in Minutes||Channel 5||697.1||5.7|
|61||Snog Marry Avoid?||BBC 3||666.1||3.8|
|62||Timothy Spall: All at Sea||BBC 4||581.1||2.4|
|63||Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals||CH4||552.5||3.2|
|64||Meals in Moments||Channel 5||528.8||4.0|
|66||Timothy Spall: Back at Sea||BBC 4||518.7||2.0|
|67||Holiday: Heaven on Earth||Channel 5||502.4||2.2|
|68||Priceless Antiques Roadshow||BBC 2||479.9||3.8|
|69||River Cottage Everyday||More4||473.4||1.5|
|70||The Family Recipe||Channel 5||457.9||6.3|
|71||Grand Designs Australia||More4||453.7||1.6|
|72||Kirstie and Phil’s Embarrasing Bits||More4||452.4||2.2|
|74||Top Gear Vietnam Special||Dave||449||4.6|
|76||Auction Hunters (Series 2)||Quest||420.7||1.6|
|77||The Renovation Game||CH4||402.5||3.3|
|78||River Cottage Bites||CH4||387.7||4.9|
|80||The World’s Best Diet||ITV2||383.5||1.4|
|81||See Hear||BBC 1||378.3||9.3|
|82||River Cottage: Gone Fishing||More4||373.4||1.5|
|83||Monty Don’s Italian Gardens||BBC 4||369.9||1.4|
|85||Three in a Bed USA||CH4||363.5||4.7|
|88||Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean||BBC 4||345.8||1.3|
|89||Three in a Bed||CH4||342||5.6|
|90||Relocation: Phil Down Under||More4||335||1.2|
|91||A Place in the Sun||CH4||333.6||4.6|
|92||Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare||More4||332.5||1.8|
|94||A Million Pound Place In the Sun||More4||318||1.2|
|95||Grand Designs Revisited||More4||317.9||1.3|
|96||Phil’s Empty Homes Giveaway||More4||315.4||1.2|
|97||A Place in the Sun: Winter Sun||CH4||313.8||6.8|
|98||One Man and His Campervan||BBC 2||302.5||3.7|
|99||Location x 3: A Decade in Property||More4||293.9||1.6|
|100||Come Dine With Me Footballers Special||More4||290.5||1.5|
Antiques Roadshow Profile
- Experts appraise objects brought to a location by the antique-owning public
- The owners are asked to guess the value of their piece?
- The antiquarians provide their estimate, often to the shock of the owner
- 26 episodes / year
- 14 locations / year
- 20+/- pieces / episode
- 8PM Sunday slot on BBC1
- 2 specials in past season
- Remembrance Day
- Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Clip: The Vase/Junk
(Test your ear for British accents)
Why a Dependable Hit?
We asked several UK programming experts: ‘What makes AR the BBC’s most durable hit nonfiction format?’
Here are some of their answers:
- ‘Huge charm.’
- ‘Full of eccentric but relate-able British characters who are owners of pieces or experts.’
- ‘A guilty pleasure.’
- ‘Gentle and easily-watched.’
- ‘Familiar and cosy.’
- ‘Perfect for 8PM Sunday before the stressful work week begins.’
AR is a hybrid that involves:
- ‘Travel to lovely places.’
- ‘A History series that engages people with the buried treasures of British life.’
- ‘For several moments each week, a suspenseful guessing Game Show about the value of pieces.’
- BBC news reader Fiona Bruce is ‘very likeable and enthusiastic, yet authoritative.’
How does the BBC team keep AR fresh?
- Evolving Tone
- The exchanges between public and experts are less formal.
- Experts are ‘slightly less academic’ and more relate-able.
- But NOISY characters are not invited!
- New Features
- More ‘change pieces’ (40-50 seconds) are being added before the ‘value surprise’ segment.
- Example: a sharp exchange of views between two experts about the value of a piece.
- A Guessing Game Segment, in which viewers guess the very different values of apparently similar objects.
- The Remembrance and Jubilee specials were ratings and critical successes.
- New Platforms
- A new AR app will engage live audience in the Guessing Game, and more.
- Release date: October 2012.
- Social Media
- AR is one of the most talked about UK TV series on Twitter.
Spinoff: Fake or Fortune
- Experts analyze alleged fake works of art and antiques
- Also hosted by Fiona Bruce.
- BBC1 Sunday night lead in to AR.
My Big Takeaway: AR Delivers Value!
- Antiques Roadshow is a ROI (return on investment) powerhouse!
- It anchors the highly-viewed Sunday night schedule, delivering a massive if older skewing audience, decade after decade.
- Yet AR‘s production costs are a fraction of BBC Blue Chip factual specials or drama.
- And AR doesn’t require the higher cost and maintenance demanded by the talent that typically drives hosted cooking and lifestyle programs.
- Like most public broadcasters, the BBC is cutting budgets across all program categories.
- Antiques Roadshow currently delivers 26 episodes from shoots on 14 locations.
- The trick will be to maintain a fresh viewing experience in the face of any future pressures to further cut the # of locations.
More Reading / Videos
- Our Globe Trekker Case Study: Another great public television franchise analyzed from the inside.
- History US executive producer Mary Donahue discusses AR and the development of the hit series Pawn Stars.
- What did Brits watch before the Olympics? Part 1. Top 100 Factual shows, 1H12.
Editorial Assistance: Alexander Watson
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