When The X Factor was launched in Australia back in 2005 to dismal ratings, I knew that TEN should have stuck to it for a little longer. The added success it was finding year on year in the UK was too much to look away from. As the years went by, the British version of the talent contest rose and rose, and when Seven relaunched it in 2010, my hypothesis was confirmed- The X Factor was a building format which, over its two years it has spent on the network, has built itself into a powerhouse format.
But in the case of Taken Out, Ten’s failed dating reality series which saw a panel of women get to know one guy, slowly taking themselves ‘out’ when they heard something they didn’t like about him, whittling the field down to just one female, it seems the opposite effect is going on.
More to the point, the show had one guy (sometimes a girl) stand up to the 30 strong panel of girls (sometimes guys) and talk about themselves. If a girl didn’t like what they heard, they’d buzz out. When we were down to just 3 or 2 girls, the man would then pick one to go on a date with. This happened every episode.
An original Australian production, it has now been developed in over ten countries.
Here in its home country, the format was trailed by TEN as a 7PM filler in 2007. Hosted by James Kerley, it did OK for the first few episodes, with lots of positive feedback coming from the youth who watched it, but slowly lost traction and disappeared forever. I never, ever thought I’d hear from it again- and admit it, neither did you.
But back in 2010, both Ireland and Britain comissioned their own series of the show, retitled Take Me Out. It follows the same format as the Australian version, but have met different fates.
They are both still on the air today, and in the case of the UK, have enjoyed mounting ratings, and in true British television fashion, has even spawned a spin-off fanzine show to discuss each episode.
I just find it so amazing at how a format that we created, and did so poorly, has exploded seemingly behind our backs overseas. Let’s face it, Australian productions at their most successful find little success overseas (Thank God You’re Here- I’m looking at you!). So when I woke up this morning and found out that this little format that could was being commissioned for a US version on FOX, I was stunned completely.
That failed show hosted by that MTV guy is now going prime-time stateside. Granted, it will air over their summer. But the sad thing is, under the name ‘Take Me Out’, the format has pretty much been hijacked by the Brits- and I doubt few will know it was an Australian first (then again, we did kind of hijack MasterChef, reformat it our way to huge acclaim and sell it off to over 20 countries, but still…).
It makes you wonder. If it is doing so well overseas, should it be returned? I don’t suggest it would have done well had Ten comissioned a second season straight away, but maybe now is the time for it again. It’s surely worth a shot.
And if it comes back, on what network would it return? Ten may not be such a good idea. Seven seem to like polarising formats like this, and seem to be able to create hits out of them- so maybe they should get it! But would people remember the show’s 2007 roots?
And should it return as ‘Taken Out’, or has the ‘Take Me Out’ title been adopted into the show’s identity?