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The shows that made TV

The Wit brings you its selection of 50 TV series that changed the history of the industry, in association with MIPTV on its 50th anniversary.

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  • 1963

    Astro Boy

    Fuji TV - Japan - Tezuka Productions

    The first Japanese anime of all time, TV adaptation of the manga by famous author Osamu Tezuka, was also the first Japanese TV show to be aired overseas. It was remade in the 1980s and again in 2003. Also in 1963: BBC’s cult sci fi franchise Doctor Who premiered in the UK.

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  • 1964


    NBC - USA - Sony Pictures Television

    This quiz show is still aired daily in the USA after more than 9000 episodes and has already been renewed there through 2016. The format has been adapted in more than 30 countries. Also in 1964: BBC’s classic music chart show Top of the Pops premiered in the UK.

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  • 1965

    The Dating Game

    ABC - USA - Sony Pictures Television

    The first dating TV show ever was adapted in many countries since the 80s when it became cult TV with its universal blind date formula, inspiring numerous suitors (and parodies). The genre-defining format is even being revived this season in Denmark.

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  • 1966

    Star Trek

    NBC - USA - CBS Studios International

    Surely the first cult TV show. The interstellar adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise generated an iconic franchise of 6 hit TV series (including one animated series), 12 feature movies (next one scheduled for May 2013) and an original language: Klingon, still spoken by some geeks.

  • 1967

    Aktenzeichen XY Ungelöst

    ZDF - Germany - ZDF Enterprises

    The world’s first reality crime solving tv format inspired the Dutch Opsporing Verzocht, BBC’s Crimewatch in the UK and FOX’s America’s Most Wanted in the USA. File XY…Unsolved, still aired monthly on German pubcaster ZDF after 470 episodes, reconstructs unsolved crimes and asks for the help of the public.

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  • 1968


    NBC - USA - NBCUniversal International Television Distribution

    The famous homicide detective Columbo (Peter Falk) and his car starred in 69 cult original episodes aired in the USA until 2003 and multi-repeated in more than 40 countries. Almost each episode began by showing the crime and its perpetrator. Also in 1968: 60 Minutes premieres on CBS in the US.

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  • 1969

    Sesame Street

    PBS - USA - Sesame Workshop

    The longest-running and most acclaimed children show in the USA gave birth to many localized muppets through its various incarnations around the world in countries as different as Germany, China, India, Kosovo, Nigeria, South Africa… where it plays an useful educational and social role. The original US version aired in more than 140 countries.

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  • 1970

    Coronation Street

    ITV - UK - ITV Studios Global Entertainment

    Launched in 1960 Corrie reaches the 10th year at the top. 4 decades later the show is the longest-running TV soap in the world and still one of the most watched British shows. The 5 episodes a week tell the daily life of the residents of the same street in a fictional English town.

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  • 1971

    The Persuaders

    ITV - United Kingdom - ITV Studios Global Entertainment

    Starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore as two playboys who reluctantly team together to fight crimes and solve cases, the action comedy drama lasted one single season (24 episodes) after a lackluster run in the US but became an instant hit all across Europe where it has been repeated ever since.

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  • 1972

    The Price Is Right

    CBS - USA - FremantleMedia

    The first version of this genius idea appeared in 1956, making it the oldest tv game show. Stripped in daytime in the US on CBS since 1972, already renewed there through 2014, the format has been adapted in more than 40 countries, its simple formula being regularly revived by international broadcasters.

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  • 1973

    - -

    Claude Chabrol at MIPTV

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  • 1973

    The Young & The Restless

    CBS - USA - Sony Pictures Television

    Even after 40 non-stop years on air in the US and more than 10 100 episodes starting with its tearjerker opening theme tune, Y&R is not the oldest US daytime soap opera. ABC’s General Hospital is turning 50 this year and NBC’s Days of Our Lives premiered in 1965.

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  • 1974


    ZDF - Germany - ZDF Enterprises

    The most famous German tv show of the world tells the criminal investigations by Chief Inspector Stefan Derrick and his loyal assistant. 281 episodes, aired in more than 100 countries and multi-repeated up till now, were produced until 1998. Then Horst Tappert put his toupee off, retired and died in 2008.

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  • 1975

    Wheel of Fortune

    NBC - USA - Sony Pictures Television

    Launched on NBC then aired daily in syndication since 1983 (and already renewed through 2016) this is the second longest running US game show. Adapted in more than 50 territories, the format – complete with its sexy female co-host –has been recently rejuvenated by many international broadcasters (recently in Egypt for the first time).

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  • 1976

    Family Feud

    ABC - USA - FremantleMedia

    This game show aired daily during more than 30 non-consecutive seasons in the USA has been renewed there through 2015. Internationally, the format which pits two families against each other guessing the most popular answers to questions given to 100 people, has been adapted in more than 55 territories, including most recently in China.

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  • 1977

    The Krypton Factor

    ITV - UK - ITV Studios Global Entertainment

    Long before The X-Factor, the British invented The Krypton Factor. A cult game show in the UK where it aired from 1977 to 1995 and was revived for 2 series in 2009 and 2010, briefly adapted in the US, this format mixes quiz, puzzles and physical challenges.

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  • 1978


    CBS - USA - Warner Bros. International Television Distribution

    35 years after its US debut Dallas is enjoying a revival with a revamped version now airing internationally. Larry Hagman died last year and the myth goes on. The original version lasted 14 seasons, 357 episodes, was dubbed in 67 languages and seen in almost 100 countries.

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  • 1979

    The Kids of Degrassi Street

    CBC - Canada - Epitome Pictures

    This children drama series aired until 1986 started the successful Canadian franchise following the Degrassi students who grew old with viewers. Then came teen series Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and since 2001 Degrassi: The Next Generation sold in 140 countries. Also in 1979: BBC’s Antiques Roadshow debuted in the UK.

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  • 1980


    Fuji TV - Japan - Toei Animation

    Created in Japan in 1975, this super giant robot embodies the worldwide success of Japanese anime and manga during the 80s. Hero of a 74-episode series part of the Mazinger trilogy, seen all around the planet, interfaced with a flying saucer, he particularly impressed kids in France, Italy and Canada.

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  • 1981

    Wetten, dass..?

    ZDF - Germany - ZDF Enterprises

    An institution in Germany visited by the greatest international stars and still the most popular entertainment show after 205 Saturday night episodes. The format was adapted in a dozen countries: ordinary people take on bizarre or extraordinary challenges and celebrities bet on their outcome.

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  • 1982

    Letters and Numbers

    France Télévisions - France - France Télévisions Distribution

    One of the world’s longest running game shows. Aired daily in France since 1965, the British version known as Countdown was the first show to appear on Channel 4 in 1982 and has been popular ever since. The format was also successfully adapted in Spain and a few other territories.

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  • 1983

    The Thorn Birds

    ABC - USA -

    Based on Colleen Mc Cullough’s best-selling novel this melodramatic mini-series immortalized Richard Chamberlain as Father Ralph de Bricassart, an ambitious priest torn between his calling and his romance with a beautiful rancher’s daughter in the Australian Outback from 1920 through ’62.

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  • 1984

    La Piovra

    RAI - Italy - RAI

    In Italy “La Piovra” (The Octopus) means “the Mafia”. From 1984 to 2003 public broadcaster Rai aired a total of 10 seasons and 48 episodes of this police series telling the never-ending fight against organized crime. Sold in over 80 countries, it’s the most exported Italian tv show.

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  • 1985


    Seven - Australia - Fremantle Media

    The longest-running Australian soap and one of Australia’s greatest exports. Currently in its 29th season on Australian channel Eleven, the show is also being shown daily in the UK for fans of the day-to-day lives and loves of the residents of the street where Kylie Minogue’s career started.

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  • 1986

    Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan

    TBS - Japan - TBS/Bellon Entertainment

    America’s Funniest Home Videos, aired in the USA since 1989, is based on this popular Japanese variety show that included humorous sketches and a segment featuring funny home videos sent in by Japanese viewers. Fun TV aired from 1986 to 1992 and invented an everlasting and universal genre.

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  • 1987

    The Bold and the Beautiful

    CBS - USA - CBS Studios International

    The youngest airing daytime soap in the US just celebrated its 26th anniversary and has already been renewed for next season. Seen in more than 100 countries B&B follows the entangled lives, passionate loves, high-stakes battles, loyalties, tragedies, and triumphs of fashion people behaving badly.

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  • 1988

    Home & Away

    Seven - Australia - Endemol

    The youngest and most popular Australian daily soap explores the trials and tribulations of a fictional beachside town seemingly populated by hunks and hotties blessed by a fantastic climate. Summerbay habitants are also hot on some other shores, especially in the UK where they appear daily on Channel 5.

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  • 1989

    The Simpsons

    Fox - USA - 20th Century FOX

    The longest-running primetime scripted series in the USA is an animated sitcom. Among numerous honors, the most famous family of the world holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most guest stars featured in a television series. Internationally the 524 episodes can be seen anywhere, anytime.

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  • 1990

    Fort Boyard

    France 2 - France - Zodiak Rights

    Built in the Atlantic Ocean by Napoleon in the 19th century, Fort Boyard now welcomes teams of contestants from all around the world. Accompanied by strange characters they have physical challenges to complete, riddles to solve and a code to discover before reaching the Treasure Room – guarded by tigers!

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  • 1991


    Nickelodeon - USA - Viacom

    The Rugrats are a group of toddlers who offered their baby’s eye-view of the world over 172 (constantly repeated) original tv episodes and three motion pictures. Their distinctive look turned them into pop culture icons appealing to kids as well as teens and parents in more than 80 countries.

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  • 1992

    The Real World

    MTV - USA - Bunim/Murray Productions

    The founding show of contemporary reality tv combined the storytelling of soaps and documentaries to follow young strangers living together in various places. A new cast is featured in each of the 28 seasons. Personality clashes between roommates and “confessional” interviews are its signature and genre-defining ingredients.

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  • 1993

    Beavis & Butthead

    MTV - USA - Viacom

    These 2 dumb and dumber teen “metalheads” were so “cool” they were revived in 2011. They mostly watch music videos and react with iconic comments such as “cool” or “this sucks”. They also chuckle and giggle sometimes. Also in 1993: FOX drama The X-Files premiered in the USA.

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  • 1994


    NBC - USA - Warner

    6 friends, 10 seasons, 236 episodes and a theme tune ! A worldwide generational hit. Also in 1994: WBITV’s medical drama ER premiered on NBC and Televisa telenovela Marimar debuted in Mexico.

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  • 1995

    Caiga quien caiga

    América TV - Argentina - Eyeworks

    A weekly news magazine in which a gang of irreverent journalists in black suits, black ties, black glasses take a humorous look on current affairs, sports or entertainment. Sold in a dozen countries, the format became a phenomenon in Spain and Italy where CQC are known as The Hyenas!

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  • 1996

    Dragon Ball GT

    Fuji TV - Japan - Toei International

    First there was Dragon Ball in 1986, then Dragon Ball Z in 1989 and then came Dragon Ball GT. Based on the best-selling manga series, the anime franchise follows the adventures of Goku, from childhood to adulthood, as he trains in martial arts and explores a magical and fantastic world.

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  • 1997

    Survivor / Expedition Robinson

    SVT1 - Sweden - Castaway Television

    This British idea was first aired on public TV in Sweden and never really made it in the UK. Adapted in more than 50 countries, the format is in its 26th season in the USA . Use of clip from Survivor – Courtesy of Survivor Productions, LLC/Charlie Parsons and Castaway Television Productions Limited.

  • 1998

    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?

    ITV - UK - Sony Pictures Television

    The format’s catchphrase “Is that your final answer? sounded like the magic formula for success to more than 120 broadcasters around the world. The impressive global response to this quiz show ignited the international formats market and the never ending treasure hunt for the next big (British) thing.

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  • 1999

    Big Brother

    Veronica - Netherlands - Endemol

    During the first episodes broadcast in the Netherlands it looked like a boring flop. But then they had sex under infrared cameras and Big Brother- the phenomenon was born: a visionary and a turning point. Also in 1999 : BBC’s documentary Walking With Dinosaurs premiered in the UK.

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  • 2000


    Seven - Australia - Banijay International

    Talent search: Year One. Following a debut in New-Zealand in 1999 the success of the Australian version one year later triggered the search for the next talent show format that has been dominating international tv ever since. Adapted in more than 50 countries Popstars is ready for a comeback.

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  • 2001

    O Clone (The Clone)

    Globo - Brazil - Globo International

    Seen in more than 30 countries, this telenovela tackled issues such as drug addiction, human cloning and religion. Also in 2001: FOX drama 24, reality series Temptation Island and CBS franchise CSI premiered in the USA. FremantleMedia dating format The Farmer Wants a Wife premiered in the UK.

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  • 2002

    American Idol

    Fox - USA - FremantleMedia

    After the success of Pop Idol in the UK in 2001, the US version of this “search for a superstar”, now in its 12th season, turned the format into a global phenomenon: 200 young singers from 46 countries have been crowned “Idol” of their own country.

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  • 2003

    Rebelde Way (The Rebels)

    Azul TV - Argentina - Dori Media

    This telenovela about 4 high school teenagers studying in an elite school of arts aired in 40 countries and gave birth to a pop band which sold 6 million records worldwide. The format was adapted in 7 countries: RBD, Televisa’s Mexican remake was another tv and music success story.

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  • 2004

    Desperate Housewives

    ABC - USA - Disney Media Distribution

    The mysteries of Wisteria Lane’s inhabitants charmed the world during 8 seasons and 180 episodes. The comedy drama series was adapted as a format in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Turkey. Also in 2004: BBC’s entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the stars premiered in the UK.

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  • 2005

    Gümüş (Noor)

    Kanal D - Turkey - Kanal D

    This Turkish soap became a cultural phenomenon when it aired in the Middle-East and sparked a growing interest in Turkish dramas in numerous countries. The 100- episode series tells the Cinderella story of a simple young woman who marries into a rich family.

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  • 2006

    Got Talent

    NBC - USA - FremantleMedia

    The format that made Susan Boyle an international singing sensation in 2009 debuted in the USA before being adapted in more than 50 countries. The YouTube channel for Britain’s Got Talent got more than 1.2 billion views. Also in 2006: RCN’s hit telenovela Betty la Fea/Ugly Betty premiered in Colombia.

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  • 2007

    Forbrydelsen (The Killing)

    DR1 - Denmark - DR / 20th Century FOX Television

    This three-season long Danish crime drama remade in the USA since 2011 has sparked a wave of international interest for Nordic scripted series. The day-by-day murder investigations of Detective Inspector Sarah Lund and her team. Also in 2007: Imagina Sales drama El Internado premiered in Spain.

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  • 2008

    Murdoch Mysteries

    CityTV - Canada - ITV Studios Global Entertainment

    This Canadian police drama based on a series of popular novels follows William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto in the late 1890s. Now in its sixth season the series, sold in more than 100 countries, is one of the leading titles in the burgeoning period crime drama trend.

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  • 2009

    MasterChef Australia

    Ten - Australia - Shine International

    The Australian revamp of a classic British cooking competition turned it into a spectacular talent show, a worldwide hit and a new tv genre. The master of all cooking contests formats and its 4 spin-offs have been adapted in more than 35 countries.

  • 2010

    The Voice

    RTL4 - Netherlands - Talpa Distribution

    The blind auditions kicking off this singing competition revived the genre. A massive hit in Holland followed by a successful US launch catapulted the show into more than 50 countries at a record pace making it the fastest-selling format ever. The Voice Kids may be next.

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  • 2011


    Showtime - Israel/USA - 20th Century FOX Television/Keshet International

    The Nation sees a hero. She sees a threat (and some other things…). Based on the 2010 Israeli series Prisoners of Wars, Homeland received almost universal critical acclaim and many industry awards. A third 12-episode-season will start in September 2013.

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  • 2012

    Pablo Escobar, The Drug Lord

    Caracol - Colombia - Caracol TV Internacional

    This biopic about El Patron del Mal – The Lord of Evil was a phenomenon in his homeland where “narco-novelas” have long been a popular tv genre. Inspired in part by testimonies of some of Escobar’s victims the series has already been shown in more than 15 countries.

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