In a major international format sale for RTE, one of their original commissions produced by Big Mountain Productions - ‘Genealogy Roadshow’, originally presented by Derek Mooney - has been licensed to PBS in the US.
A new version of the programme, in which a team of travelling experts attempt to piece together ordinary people’s family histories, will now premiere in the US in September.
Big Mountain’s US agent Pat Quinn negotiated the deal with PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in the US, marking the first international license for the format with several other territories also currently in discussion.
RTE Commissioning Editor Ray McCarthy said it was RTE’s strategy to support and facilitate Irish companies in developing and exporting ideas that have international potential.
‘It makes us particularly proud to have developed this format with Big Mountain,’ he said. ‘It effectively blends historical detective stories with real emotional reaction from the participants, and has really struck a chord with our audience and we are confident will also do so in the US.’
Big Mountain Executive Producer Philip McGovern expressed his delight at the news and noted that the show hit a nerve as everybody wants answers to questions about their own histories to help make sense of their lives today.
‘Genealogy Roadshow’ creator Jane Kelly explained that their focus was to develop shows that have universal values to connect with audiences anywhere.
‘We’re delighted to be the first to break into the US with an Irish format,’ she added.
The format first aired on RTE in summer 2011, with a second season currently in production.
The US version will be produced by Krasnow Productions (‘The Weakest Link’, ‘Average Joe’) and will initially focus on participants from Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco.
Big Mountain Productions is run by husband-and-wife team Jane Kelly and Philip McGovern, former BBC/RTE executive producers whose credits include ‘The Tenements’, ‘Life in the Big House’, ‘Craftmaster’ and ‘Dúshlán - Living the Eviction’.
A clip from the RTE version of ‘Genealogy Roadshow’ is available to view below: