Game of Clones sees doppelgangers compete for the affections of a singleton. （Photo provided to China Daily）
Lookalike series could become latest hit import
A Beijing-based production company will create a Chinese version of British dating show Game of Clones, where a single person is matched with eight nearly identical dates who all enter a house rigged with cameras for a week.
In Game of Clones, which aired last year on British channel E4, a single man or woman creates a virtual representation of their dream date using avatar-building computer technology.
Once they have constructed their perfect partner in terms of looks and fashion sense, the show's producers scour the country to find eight real suitors fitting this ideal image.
The doppelgangers then all live in a house together with their suitor, who creates a series of challenges and scenarios to get to know their personalities better. The clones that don't make the grade are dumped over the course of the show.
British agency The Story Lab has signed a deal for Chinese TV production house 3C Media and London-based independent studio Youngest Media to co-produce a dozen 75-minute episodes to be broadcast in China this year.
Youngest Media was previously commissioned by British network Channel 4, which aired the first series of Game of Clones on its channel E4 in 2017.
"We're very excited to be partnering with 3C Media and making this our first co-production in China," said Lucas Church, co-founder of Youngest Media. "I hope we can prove that love is a universal language."
Game of Clones both enthralled and disturbed television audiences in the UK. One reviewer described the show as something out of a "dystopian nightmare" while another commented that the series "offers up some interesting questions" about the meeting of technology and romance in modern society.
Shirley Cheng, the senior vice president of 3C Media, said the company was well positioned to adapt the show for Chinese viewers.
"3C has well-established networks in China. We have sharp insight of this complex and fast-changing market in China," she said. "We are delighted to be partnering with youngest Media and The Story Lab to bring such a top-class reality concept to Chinese audiences."
The Story Lab's format director Luci Sanan said a German and a French network have also commissioned the show.
"We are thrilled to be continuing our journey around the world with Game of Clones," Sanan said. "Sales are coming in not only from Europe but also the Asia-Pacific region, proving that broadcasters believe that Game of Clones is going to be a hit with audiences around the world."
Chinese produced versions of western franchises are common, and some have received record ratings. The Chinese version of variety show Britain's Got Talent is the most viewed edition in the franchise's history. Chinese networks have commissioned versions of British auto show Top Gear and UK variety series Pop Idol, as well as Dutch programs The Voice and Big Brother.