In television terms, The summit it’s known as “paper format,” a new concept that remains untested in any other market.
He’s reunited for Nine and Endemol Shine Australia over the past year, albeit with a few key changes.
Nine programming director Hamish Turner says TV tonight“With all our major manufacturing partners, we have multiple presentations and meetings with them. The summit it was somewhat unique in that it was a show that had been presented to us previously by the ESA team. We were having internal discussions about opportunities within the program about what we were looking for. It kind of ticked a lot of the boxes.
“The idea that was pitched initially is not what you see today, but a group of people needing to reach the top of a mountain was the core of the premise. As with anything, with a print format, there was obviously still a lot of creative development that was required within that show. But we really liked the idea of ordinary Australians being placed in a foreign landscape and challenged with something that feels a little more human.”
“There’s something stopping them from getting there”
The show tasks 14 strangers to bundle up on a 200km journey to the top of a mountain in New Zealand. Tied to their backpacks is a total of $1 million, their prize, depending on how many reach the top.
“There’s something stopping them from getting there and they need to join. But they’re never going to get there as a full group, so that’s the process of elimination,” she continued.
“The show is heavily influenced by mountaintop thriller-type films.
“If you remember on top of Cliffhangers(Stallone is) holding on to, I think, his mate or his wife, and it starts with his fall.
“Eventually, they all end in tragedy, but I’m pleased to say this one doesn’t!”
Turner says the purity of a first season can’t be ignored, with contestants being denied any previous seasons to inform their gameplay. Already-eliminated contestants gave press interviews in which they said they had no idea there would be real-life twists, like being voted off the mountain.
“They signed up for this show, with very little information”
“Attendance-wise, they signed up for this show, with very little information other than that it’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime,” Turner explains.
“Season 1 has a very special place in that people enter it blind. The great thing that producer Amelia Fisk has done with the show, is that it doesn’t follow some kind of tried and true construct.
“As the show unfolds, the beats of the format reveal themselves at different times. It doesn’t follow a traditional path in terms of beginning, middle and end. I think it’s surprising and exciting for the audience.”
The summitother key attributes of are its spectacular vistas, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, rivers, canyons and cliff faces.
“Those places, you can’t reach them, except by helicopter. They’re very remote… I don’t think you’ve ever seen them on TV before,” she suggests.
“Some of the shots you get are amazing”
“Some of the shots you get are amazing. What you can do with obviously drones these days… is just astounding.
“(Host) Jai Courtney is an absolute delight in the show, the way he acts…his position within the show is sort of ‘keeper of the mountain’ and he’s always watching, always there.”
“This is Risk Management 101”
Given the physical demands of scaling an icy mountain, how nervous was Nine about keeping the contestants safe?
“This is Risk Management 101,” assures Turner. “The great thing with the NZ team is that this is what they are absolutely experts at. Endemol Shine has been awarded a gold star to ensure participants are both mentally and physically safe. We work with the best people to ensure this, but we also make sure it feels like a very authentic show… physically they won’t be at risk, but that’s where the mental challenge comes in.”
The summit continues at 7pm Sunday, 7.30pm Monday and Tuesday on Nine.