In a Variety exclusive, today we announce that the hugely popular Fremantle game show Password will be adapted in Greece (Alpha TV), Hungary (TV2), Israel (Channel 13), Mexico (TV Azteca) and Slovakia (TV JOJ).
The word association game, which first launched on CBS in 1961, sees captains and contestants try to guess their teammates’ passwords with the help of one-word clues. The most recent U.S. version, starring Keke Palmer and Jimmy Fallon, launched last year on NBC and quickly became one of the network’s most popular shows.
The UK version will have its own distinct flavour, offering each contestant a chance to win a cash prize in the final round, and is fronted by three beloved British comic talents: Stephen Mangan as host, and BAFTA winners Alan Carr and Daisy May Cooper as team captains.
Mangan, who, along with his family, is a fan of the U.S. show, told Variety, “We do it slightly differently. We bring a British sense of humour to it, I think that’s the thing. And there’s a silliness, I guess, to it. Also, the sarcasm and relationship you have between Alan and Daisy is very British.”
Cooper added, “We’ve probably made it cheekier, that’s for sure. We go off on tangents because sometimes passwords remind us of bits of our life stories, which bores everyone else to tears, I’m sure. It’s just more naughty, I suppose.”
“We were lucky enough to have Betty White on Jimmy’s ‘Late Night’ show, and we played a round of Password as a nod to Betty being a part of the original NBC version starting back in 1961,” said Jim Juvonen, executive producer at NBC. “We’ve played it dozens of times since, and when Fremantle decided to make Password again for the U.S. market, they approached Jimmy and asked if he would bring his late night version to prime time on NBC.”
“When the Americans get a new word they really celebrate and even the members of the public are super confident, whereas over here, we are a bit more… well… we grimace,” Carr says. “If we find a word really hard to guess, we might show it… You get a different energy from the Brits. It’s more sarcastic and cheekier, which is me and Daisy Cooper down to a tee.”
The UK adaptation of Password is produced by our label Talkback. Chris O’Dell, Fremantle’s global head of production, says that the UK version will largely adhere to the U.S. template with “a few little bonus rules.”
Password is designed as a multi-season show for the UK “The strength of Password as a format is it’s very returnable. The gameplay is is simple for the audience to understand. It’s great play along, it’s very universal. It’s very adaptable,” O’Dell says. “As a production, it’s a very efficient show, you can record more than one episode in a day. So that’s very attractive for both the producers and the broadcasters. And it’s the sort of show that can sit in a variety of places in the schedule and it’s a good, escapist, fun watch for an audience, which is what we try and do with all of our game shows and Password ticks all those boxes.”
The U.K. Password is executive produced for Talkback by Jonno Richards and Laura Gibson with Juliet Morrish as the series producer. The series was commissioned by Joe Mace, commissioning editor at ITV and Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment commissioning at ITV.