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Sky 1 unleashes big spectacle entertainment shows

Zai Bennett, Sky director of programmes, told TVBEurope that Sky 1 is deliberately making a move to “big scale entertainment ideas”

Sky will be pumping up the volume this autumn with a new slate of large-scale entertainment programming on Sky 1.

Embracing the company vision of “television worth paying for”, Sky 1 will be pursuing spectacle with three new shows, Sing It, a flashy, entirely a capella singing competition, Revolution, where inline skaters, skateboarders and BMX riders engage in extreme competition (described as “Rollerball without the death”), and Carmageddon (“Mad Max meets Wacky Races”). All three shows are still operating under working titles (though we think “Carmageddon” is pretty good).

Zai Bennett, Sky director of programmes, told TVBEurope that Sky 1 was now deliberately making a move to “big scale entertainment ideas”. Previously Sky had been working on a strategy of maximising volume, but it will now shift focus to concentrate on high-quality, potentially high-budget, programming, across its channels.

Additionally, Sky 1 will have an all new look this autumn, a bit more “grown up”, “edgier”, “mischievous”, and “hugely entertaining”, said Bennett.

Adam MacDonald, director of Sky 1, reiterated, saying the channel plans to do “fewer things, bigger and better”, and that they have looked toward high concept material, like movies, as an inspiration in developing powerful entertainment ideas. The feature film ethos of bespoke quality has become a watchword: “If we do a show it has to be best of its kind, the first of its kind.”

Zai Bennett noted that the Sky will still continue to stay prolific: “You have to give yourself the latitude to fail,” Bennett said, “Not that we want to fail. But you have to be in the business of doing tens of things, not just one thing a year, to find a success.”

Sing It, Revolution and Carmageddon will all aggressively recruit big name, international guest stars. “We can’t just go to the Best Of British anymore,” said Bennett. “We don’t want to fish in the same pond as everyone else.”

Sing It will be hosted by Cat Deeley in a seven-episode series that will test a capella singing groups in three rounds – a medley round, iconic artist covers and a final showdown between two groups. The winning group will record an album at Abbey Road Studios and release a single in time for Christmas.

The show directed by concert and music director Sam Wrench. The commissioner for Sky is Bill Hobbins. It will head to Sky 1 in September 2017.

Revolution will feature 30 competitors, 10 inline skaters, 10 skateboarders and 10 BMX riders, competing in breathtaking challenges over eight episodes. Revolution is produced by Znak & Co and Motion Content Group. The show is due to air in early 2018, and the commissioner for Sky is again Bill Hobbins.

Carmageddon will feature teams of engineers, mechanics and drivers building armed vehicles which will then slug it out across different arenas in the South African desert. The six-episode series is produced by Primal Media (a joint venture with Lionsgate) and Motion Content Group. The show will air in 2018. Commissioner for Sky is Barbara Lee.