Broadcaster Magazine

CBC Partners with Warner Bros. for Second Year of Format Incubator

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  • CBC today announced the return of the Format Incubator for its second consecutive year, with a new partner – Warner Bros. International Television Production. From now until September 28, the hunt is on for fresh unscripted formats that break new ground in factual programming and have strong Canadian and international appeal. Full details are available at CBC’s Independent Producer page. The collaborative venture is aimed at the Canadian independent production community, with the goal of boosting the creation of original, exportable television formats and bringing Canadian creative innovation to the world.

    “CBC is a leader in the development of strong, distinctly Canadian unscripted content, and we’re excited to partner with Warner Bros. International TV Production to support and champion fresh formats at home and abroad,” said Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content, CBC. “We’re proud of last year’s results and look forward to seeing what innovative new formats Canadian producers come up with.”

    Commenting on the initiative, Adam Steinman, VP, Non-Scripted International Development & SalesWBITVP said: “The Format Incubator truly levels the playing-field. It instantly gives Canadian production companies of any size access to a world-renowned public broadcaster, an international studio and distributor, as well as our network of international production companies for critical feedback, insight and a chance to get their series ideas on air.”

    The first pilot to come out of the Format Incubator initiative, Anything but Average, aired in spring 2023 on CBC. Responding to Canadians’ love for comparisons, surveys and revealing statistics, the selected concept’s pilot used population stats, graphics and human stories to explore the nature of diverse families in Canada today. A full series is currently in development with Frantic Films and is represented in the international marketplace by Zodiak Rights, part of the Banijay Group (formerly Banijay International), who partnered with CBC for the inaugural Format Incubator.

    For the second Format Incubator, CBC and WBITVP are seeking unique concepts that resonate with audiences and have the potential to spark a national dialogue about a topic that matters to Canadians. Canadian producers are invited to submit their original primetime unscripted formats in the following programming areas:


    • Field-based factual: These formats take people on a journey of knowledge, have interesting characters, strong narrative, stylistic production and editing, and a unique point of view.They could be social experiments, such as The Week the Women Went or Village on a Diet, which were both successful for CBC.


    • Studio-based smart entertainment: For adults 25-54 and families, a collective viewing experience that reaches out to the audience to participate in the program in many different ways.CBC programs that have been successful in this sub-genre are Canada’s Smartest Person, Dragons’ Den and Crash Gallery.


    Proposals are being accepted now, until September 28. Full guidelines and submission details can be found at CBC’s Independent Producer page.  Please visit: