Channel 4 is logging back into The Circle this year for a second season of the groundbreaking reality series.
The first season took Big Brother into the modern age, with contestants living in a single building but never meeting face-to-face. They communicated through a special voice-activated social media platform and rated each other frequently. Unpopular players were “blocked” and ultimately, the most popular player won a cash prize. Since they only knew each other through their online dialogue and profiles, players could choose whether to present a true or fictional version of themselves.
“The Circle does find fresh insights into the social media age,” we wrote in our review, “as we see these cut-off individuals deliberately separating their real identities from the persona that they present to others – part of the fun is waiting for 26-year-old Alex (who uses his girlfriend’s photo to pretend to be “Kate”) to be rumbled by someone.
“Edited for maximum humour, and with contestants who don’t take themselves too seriously, the result is a portrait of modern Britain that becomes compellingly accurate: a country where deception is normal, consequences for others aren’t considered, and everything is pushed aside for a chance to get upvotes on a photo of their breakfast.”
The result was Channel 4’s most popular new factual entertainment series for young viewers in 2018, becoming Channel 4’s youngest profiling show since 2012 with an average of 49.4% profile of 16-24s. On All 4, The Circle was the biggest new original commission launch since 2012, with over 10 million views.
The format, created by All3Media’s Studio Lambert, was also a big enough hit to catch Netflix’s attention, with the streaming giant inking a deal for the rights to make localised versions of the gameshow in multiple countries, including the USA.
Now, Channel 4 has confirmed that a second season is on the way. It will see The Circle become more mischievous, with viewers given greater control and increased interactivity with the game. They will be able to influence how the contestants play – leading to “unexpected and surprising consequences”.
Kelly Webb-Lamb, Channel 4 Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual comments: “It was a genuine risk to take on such an innovative new reality format, but The Circle absolutely struck a chord with young viewers who were utterly gripped by the drama and relationships that unfolded on screen – even though the players never met. The second series will have more of what the viewers loved – warmth, humour, more live elements and even more surprises. I’m excited to see how it will build on the success of series one.”
“We were blown away by the love on social media for our entertaining cast and the nightly drama of the show,” adds Studio Lambert creative director, Tim Harcourt. “This year we have some thrilling twists and turns in both our casting and the gameplay. We will also have a weekly live show that offers our audience more chance to engage and make a big impact on the narrative.”
Season 2 will premiere later this year on Channel 4. You can register to apply for the series by visiting www.thecirclecasting.com.