Netflix is widening The Circle reality series to include a global audience.
Channel 4’s show, which concluded its maiden three-week run last night, took Big Brother into the modern age, with contestants living in a single building but never meeting face-to-face. They communicate through a special voice-activated social media platform and rate each other frequently. Unpopular players are “blocked” and ultimately, the most popular player wins a cash prize. Since they only know each other through their online dialogue and profiles, players can choose whether to present a true or fictional version of themselves. It’s a game exploring questions of honesty and trust when people can’t see each other in the flesh.
“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 format was created by All3Media’s Studio Lambert and recently co-produced by Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group for the UK’s Channel 4. Now, in a sure sign of its success, Netflix has pounced on the rights to make localised versions of the unscripted sensation. The streaming giant will produce all-new local versions of the social media competition series featuring players from three different countries, including the United States.
“The Circle has already proven to be a compelling, timely, and buzzworthy show,” says Brandon Riegg, Netflix Vice President of Unscripted Content. “We think the show’s combination of modern social media interaction and competition will captivate Netflix members around the world, in multiple languages, and we’re delighted to partner with Studio Lambert and Motion to produce these three new local versions.”
“Social media has radically changed the way we make friends, conduct relationships, argue and even fall in love,” adds Stephen Lambert, CEO of Studio Lambert, “but how truthful are our online identities? The Circle is a thought-provoking and entertaining way of exploring such questions and the chance to make different versions for Netflix’s global audience was irresistible.”