BBC Worldwide today announced at the Kiev Format Show that Russia has snapped up the format rights to produce a local version of long-running quiz show Mastermind.
The deal between local production company BIZ Media and BBC Worldwide will see TV’s toughest quiz air on Rossiya- Kultura channel in Russia.
The 16-part series known locally as “ Гений (Geniy”), meaning “Genius” began airing yesterday.

On-air for over 40 years in the UK, Mastermind is one of TV’s longest-running and most popular quiz shows. Famous for its challenging questions, its intimidating setting, iconic black chair and catchphrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish”, Mastermind is a tournament quiz that eventually crowns one overall super-brain.

In this new Russian version, Alexey Begak, TV presenter on Rossiya- Kultura will take up the role as quiz master in this fierce battle of the brains.

Salim Mukaddam, Vice President and General Manager for CEE, BBC Worldwide said, “We have seen a renewed interest in our quiz show formats in recent months as local broadcasters across the region are looking for high-volume, high quality shows to drive audiences. Mastermind is a perfect example of this – even after 40 years the series continues to bring in large audiences in the UK owing to its unique blend of intelligence and entertainment. I’m delighted that Russian audiences will soon find their next genius through our agreement with BIZ Media and VGTRK.”

Elena Zimenko, Producer BIZ Media, said: “It’s amazing how “Mastermind or “ Гений (Geniy”), continues to be a popular choice with television viewers, after such a long history on television. The host of the show Alexei Begak’s cool detachment and professionalism makes him a formidable quizmaster. We absolutely sure that Rossiya – Kulture would be a very good and natural home for Mastermind format and Russian viewers will be able to watch the show for many years.”

The Mastermind format has also previously been sold to Ireland (TV3), India (Colors), Russia (Junior version licensed to TV Channel Russia), Israel (IBA), Turkey, Nigeria and Ghana.

The most recent sale of the format was to New Zealand (TVNZ) in 2016. Launching in May 2016, it secured a 40% share and almost triple the number of viewers than that of nearest rival TV3. The show trended nationwide on Twitter and was the nation’s #1 non-news programme of the night

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By Expat