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Show of the week: Heaven or Hell

Heaven or Hell has caused a stir in Germany and the crazy challenges that contestants take on – or endure – while in ‘Hell’ have been grabbing column inches. It has also caused a stir in the ratings, being ProSieben’s biggest entertainment launch of the past year and adding 50% to the free-to-air broadcaster’s viewers in the 14-to-49s.

The edge the show has is part of its younger-skewing appeal, says Rob Clark, director of global entertainment development at FMI, which launched the format at MIPCOM. “It obeys the classic gameshow rules, but is also very shocking,” he says. “Old people won’t like parts of it, but it’s not meant for them.”

The shocks come when contestants take a trip to ‘Hell’. The set is divided into Heaven and Hell areas and quirky multiple-choice questions face the contestants when they are in the heavenly zone, which is suitably decorated in soft tones and bathed in white light.

If they are not sure they know the answer that will see them progress up the money ladder, they have a lifeline in the option of descending to Hell.

While there, they are faced with tasks and challenges such as having their head shaved, being painted a funny colour or drinking or eating something that would not ordinarily be ingested.

If they succeed, the head back to Heaven and proceed up the money ladder. Given the comedic twist, the show is not centred on a huge cash prize (in Germany it is 50,000).

Created by FremantleMedia’s German prodco UFA, ProSieben has ordered a second season of the German Heaven or Hell. “Imagine Who Wants to be a Millionaire had a baby with Jackass – that is this show,” Clark says, adding that it also has elements of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and Distraction.

“It’s a well-structured game, but instead of a lifeline, contestants have the opportunity to go to Hell in lieu of answering.”

The German version runs to two hours, but the format could be adapted for different slots, with one potential buyer discussing stripping it.

Clark notes that it is also an easy show to promote. “Broadcasters need something that stands out, that clearly says what it is, and this is easy to identify and to promote on and off screen.”

TBI understands there is strong interest from a broadcaster in the UK among others.

The show: Heaven or Hell
The producer: UFA Productions
The distributor: FremantleMedia International
The broadcaster: ProSieben (Germany)
The concept: Quiz show in which contestants can use a trip to ‘Hell’ as a lifeline