Distribution company Lineup Industries and NHK Enterprises announced the award-winning format Chiko’s Challenge has been optioned by Mediacrest for Spain, in addition to other international sales.

Independent international distribution company Lineup Industries and NHK Enterprises (the distribution arm of Japanese broadcaster NHK) have announced the first producer options from three countries from their partnership to drive the global exploitation of NHK’s slate of creative, prize-winning formats.

Multi award-winning including Grand Prix at the Galaxy Award and Creative Excellence at the US International Film & Video Festival, Chiko’s Challenge has been optioned by Hihhihhii Oy in Finland and for Spain by Mediacrest.

The Late Night Show with Nitty & Gritty has also been optioned by Hihhihhii in Finland and for the Netherlands by SkyhighTV.

Chiko’s Challenge is a co-viewing comedy show which challenges celebrities with child-like questions which are often surprisingly difficult to answer. The quizmaster is an “eternal 5-year-old” character named Chiko. She is half CGI, half costume voiced by a famous male comedian via a voice changer. Very curious and hard to please, Chiko challenges the celebrity panel with questions like “Why is it slippery on ice?” “Why do grandpas have long eyebrows?” But be careful! If you cobble together flimsy answers like you do with your kids, Chiko will have a tantrum. Currently one of the biggest studio entertainment shows in Japan. Are you up for a challenge by this cheeky know-it-all?

The original version of The Late Night Show with Nitty & Gritty has just completed its fifth season on NHK, where it is winning high-ratings particularly amongst young audiences and generating significant social media buzz with each episode. The format celebrates the little-known-but-rumoured ways of life of people who are not normally heard from, through a deeply candid talk show…using puppets. With diverse and unusual episode subjects, which range from a Michelin Star restaurant reviewer, a lottery winner, a former secretary to a politician, a fortune teller and a gaming junkie, the series uses the puppets as a way to give guests the freedom to speak their minds and shine a light onto the weird, the curious and the niche, without revealing their true identity.

NHK/NHK Enterprises and Lineup Industries originally began collaborating with the hugely successful Japanese adaptation of Radio Gaga, a uniquely touching format which follows a hyper-local, intimate radio station and is now in its third season on NHK.

Ed Louwerse, co-founder of Lineup Industries, said: “Although very different, these NHK series are both truly original, defining shows that engage debate and conversation on social media. The use of puppetry in Nitty & Gritty allows for a much deeper reveal than would otherwise be the case and feeds into our desire to understand more of human nature, while Chiko’s Challenge is a comedy panel show like no other, and pure fun for the whole family.”

Junko Ogawa, Executive Controller-General, Content Distribution Department of NHK Enterprises adds:

“We are tremendously excited about these four options and are grateful to Lineup Industries for finding the perfect partners to work with. NHK created Nitty & Gritty to reach the younger generation who are spending more time on internet than television, by going more niche and underground than we usually do, and with Chiko’s Challenge we wanted a create a never-seen-before character for the whole family. Both were challenging projects but with a clear notion of celebrating the fun and colourful world we live in. We appreciate that Mediacrest, Hihhihhii and SkyhighTV all recognized the beauty of these programs and look forward to sharing our experience and success, as well as receiving insights about the oversea markets through these options. “