Testing out a new television format in this landscape is always a gambling man’s game, but The 10 Network has rolled the dice with the new series Hunted.
Hunted is like The Amazing Race meets Prison Break, The reality series follows nine teams of Fugitives who go on the run from a team of expert Hunters.
They must stay on the move and attempt to throw the Hunters off their scent. The Fugitives can run anywhere in Victoria and how they evade capture, is up to them. Can they disappear without a trace?
It’s exciting and fresh television that’s proven to be a success in tough markets like The United Kingdom, but it’s completely new in Australia.
It’s pretty typical now for Networks to stick to the shows they can count on, for 10, it’s MasterChef and before that, it was The Bachelor series, but now the network is diving into a new show and one that clearly wasn’t super cheap to make.
The most interesting thing about Hunted is that it’s a thriller but a reality show. The concept is what originally tweaked the interest of Marty Benson, director of content at Melbourne, at Endemol Shine Australia; he excitedly told B&T, “It is a real-life thriller!”
Benson said that this show has been a career highlight for him and is the most, “Exciting and challenging content I’ve ever made!” A big wrap from a man that over 25 years of television under his belt.
You can also understand why It would have been a challenge. The show was filmed across Victoria and had plenty of contestants and hunters to keep track of.
Benson was endlessly fascinated while filming it because he got the inside scoop on both the fugitives and the hunters, and he loved the sense that as a viewer, you constantly changed who you wanted to see succeed, “You want this person to escape, but then you want that hunter to catch them!” It’s the excitement that carries the show along.
It’s also the human relationships that stand out, in a similar vein to The Bachelor, MasterChef or even Married At First Sight. Watching pairs of people trying to navigate crazy circumstances is hard to look away from and while the romance format has been done extensively, the thriller element does give it all a new heartbeat.
Tamar Hovagimian, partnership director effect, Paramount ANZ is also enamoured with the show’s format and loves that you want, “everyone to win,” she said.
In terms of partnerships for the show, while she won’t reveal anything before the show premiers, she does admit it was exciting to be curating a new lineup for a new show and that obviously it less obvious ways than say MasterChef, where a condiments brand would be perfect for instance.
However she did say the show was easy to “monetise,” because the format lends to so many, “new and exciting opportunities for brands,” she said.
But away from the brand side of things, why will audiences become hooked? Well, Ben Owen, who is one of the Hunters and has appeared on the British version of the show, said hunting Australians was a unique experience. He said: “This team of fugitives were really willing to give everything a go. I definitely had my work cut out for me.”
It’s also a show that allows Australia to really show its landscape, “We were everywhere and I’m so proud of how it has turned out.”
But perhaps the show’s biggest selling point is that when I was interviewing Owen, Hovagimian and Benson, each person was clearly excited and keen to hear if I enjoyed the show.
Enthusiasm speaks volumes, and while it’s hard to know how Hunted will fair in the ratings, a new show is a gamble. It’s clear that it has all the ingredients it needs to be a hit and who doesn’t love the thrill of dice being rolled?
Hunted Premieres Sunday, 17 July At 7.30 pm On 10 And 10 Play.