John Pollak leaves NBCUniversal after restructuring
EXCLUSIVE: Richard Bacon is used to reinventing himself. The British presenter has been notoriously kicked out of the iconic BBC children’s show Blue stone after being caught drinking cocaine, but survived ignominy to become a near-ubiquitous presence on British television and radio. In 2016, Bacon moved to America to host Nat Geo’s Explorer series and later syndicated Fox talk show Top 30. But it’s his latest career twist that is perhaps the most notable: Bacon has gone from being the man in front of the camera to the creator of the content – and he already has a global contract with Universal Television Alternative Studios and three series. to show for his efforts.
The Briton traced this change of direction to personal trauma in 2018, when he was struck down with suspected pneumonia on a flight from the United States to Britain and was placed in a medically induced coma. He said at the time that he was “pretty close to death” and the experience prompted a rethink of his place in the television business. “I was doing a daytime show on Fox. And it was a great team of people, but that didn’t challenge me, ”he said on a Zoom call from his home in Los Angeles. “I spent a lot of time there dreaming about formats. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.
John Pollak leaves NBCUniversal after restructuring
The first format of Bacon, The Hustler, launched with Craig Ferguson last month and helped ABC’s Thursday Night Game Show lineup triumph in the ratings. Produced by Infiltrated boss Studio Lambert outfit, the format sees people fighting for a cash prize by releasing a Hustler – a competitor who knows all the answers to questions. If the Hustler keeps his identity hidden, he keeps the money.
Next in Bacon’s Brain is BBC One It’s my house, which is billed as an addicting guessing game in which four people walk into a house and say, “This is my house.” A panel of famous judges must decide who is telling the truth and who claims to be the owner. Come strictly dance Champion Stacey Dooley presents the six-part series, while the producer is Expectation backed by BBC Studios. Filming took place last year, in part during lockdown, which meant Bacon was often relegated to the garage during filming. The production consisted of “constantly solving puzzles,” he adds.
Finally, Bacon reveals his third format in Deadline: A show called I just literally told you, which he is developing for the British channel Channel 4 in collaboration with Expectation. “I just literally told you is a game show about short term memory and how bad it is. My starting point was that you can give candidates the answer to any question and they are always wrong. It turned out to be true. It’s an absurd and fast game show, ”he explains.
A host and the length of the series have yet to be decided, but Bacon hopes to shoot the show in the studio this year (with an audience, if the coronavirus permits) following a non-transmission pilot. Deadline learns that NBC is also piloting the format, with Perfect Star Adam DeVine and comedian Ron Funches host. Bacon would not be drawn on the American version. “See what they say if you call them,” he laughs when asked about the NBC pilot. Channel 4 and NBC declined to comment.
The old one Big breakfast the presenter says he can spend hundreds or even thousands of hours thinking about the intricacies of a format before shaping it into a shape that suits him. After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD), he says it can manifest as obsessive behavior, which is not entirely unnecessary when tinkering under the hood. ‘an idea. “If I’m obsessed with an idea, it could be Christmas Day and I’ll disappear and think about it for ages, or wake up at 4 am and write in my phone notes,” he explains. .
His presentation skills also came in handy, both in the pitching room and also in the development process. Is reflected on The Hustler, he says, “I’ve broadcast this in my living room here in Los Angeles as a host a few times… The experience of being a host is fantastic for visualizing ideas, I tend to see it from the point of view. from the host, but then in terms of running ideas, I’ll run them as the host until I get them to work. And then finally, [former The Big Breakfast host] Johnny Vaughan once told me that being a host is like being a salesperson, which is helpful when you come into the field. There is absolutely an overlap between my old career and this one in a way that I find very useful.
Bacon hasn’t completely given up on presenting again and is keen to return to music radio at some point. He hasn’t spoken to the BBC or a commercial station about the idea, but says he could make calls in the coming weeks. “I’ll never be a full-time presenter again, I guess, but I particularly miss music radio. It’s hard to know how [I will do it], since I live most of my life in Los Angeles. It’s a thought in my head rather than a strategy, ”he said, adding with a laugh,“ They could be like, ‘You got mad in America and apart from going into a coma. [here in the UK], it’s not really a qualification to give yourself a radio show. “
For now though, Bacon, who is being replaced by CAA and Hansen Jacobson, is focused on being a format machine. He then launched “two big and ambitious talent-driven game shows” to the market. He considers these the most daring ideas he has created to date, but remains shy about the details. Considering Bacon’s track record so far, you wouldn’t bet against him taking them away somewhere. “It’s essentially daydreaming for a living,” he smiles. “I found my way into something that I really love.”