Friends in need find sup­port

New shows will fo­cus on help be­tween strangers, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

AUS­TRALIAN hits like A Farmer Wants a Wife and Please Marry My Boy are of the type which are be­ing picked up around the world.

Help­ing peo­ple over­come a life chal­lenge, find true love or track down chil­dren snatched by an es­tranged part­ner: com­mu­nity sup­port is the lat­est trend in re­al­ity tele­vi­sion.

Many new show for­mat that will hit TV screens in com­ing months fo­cus on the idea of help be­tween strangers, says French TV re­search com­pany The Wit.

‘‘Whereas in the past, peo­ple went to ex­perts to help solve their prob­lems, those in cri­sis now ask their neigh­bours for help,’’ says Virginia Mouseler, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at the Paris-based com­pany.

‘‘The strong­est trend in TV pro­duc­tions to­day is peer-to-peer rec­om­men­da­tions.’’

That re­flects a broader trend en­trenched by so­cial net­works that val­ues ad­vice from peers above that of ex­perts.

In Neigh­bours, a pi­lot on the Oprah (Win­frey) chan­nel, a fam­ily in cri­sis asks for hel at a com­mu­nity meet­ing.

The twist is the fam­ily hands over con­trol to one or two neigh­bours, who be­come men­tors, help­ing them to find so­lu­tions to chal­lenges they face.

An­other show, Au­di­ence is a more ex­treme ex­am­ple. This time, 50 strangers cram into the home of a per­son who needs help through a cri­sis. The strangers live, eat and sleep in the house for seven days, con­stantly de­liv­er­ing ad­vice – as well as un­wel­come truths about the prob­lem.

An­other show on the help­ing-hand theme, Miss­ing, which aired in Den­mark in Jan­uary, helps par­ents find a miss­ing child or chil­dren, spir­ited abroad by an es­tranged part­ner. In sea­son one, half the ab­ducted chil­dren were re­united with their fam­i­lies.

One peren­nial favourite, the dat­ing show, also re­turns to screens, with a slew of new pro­gram­ming on screens around the world.

Farmer Wants a Wife is cur­rently ranked as the No.1 show in the Nether­lands, Bel­gium and Ger­many.

New shows min­ing the lonely hearts theme in­clude Please Marry My Boy, which has just ended in Australia on Chan­nel 7. Three mums help their sons to meet the girl of their dreams via a se­ries of chal­lenges.

The two hot trends come to­gether in Is­rael’s Dear Neigh­bours, Help Our Daugh­ter Find Love, in which a lo­cal com­mu­nity works to­gether to find a hus­band for a lo­cal fam­ily’s daugh­ter. She is bliss­fully un­aware of what they are up un­til she ar­rives on a visit, and is asked to choose a part­ner from three male can­di­dates the vil­lage have se­lected for her.

In Fools for Love, which de­buted in Den­mark in March, the par­tic­i­pant sees a panel slide away to re­veal – an old flame.

Mum Milena and son Vlad in­ter­view a prospec­tive wife in a re­cent episode of Chan­nel 7’s Aus­tralian hit

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