A youth-orientated format combining the gross-out appeal of Jackass with elements of reality TV is riding high in Canada and gearing up for global domination, writes Michael Rosser.
The format:A mixture of Jackass and The Odd Couple, this reality comedy show focuses on two friends who test each other's boundaries of tolerance. The weekly challenges range from "Who can lose the most weight" to "Who can stay awake the longest" and "Who can sit on a cow the longest". The winner of each task assigns the loser a humiliating penance at the end of each episode.Who's showing it?Kenny vs Spenny is currently halfway through its first season on Canadian channel CBC where it is screened in a youth-targetted slot after The Simpsons at 17.30. Los Angeles-based Blueprint Entertainment and Toronto's Breakthrough Films were commissioned to make 26 episodes.The format has also been sold to Germany's Brainpool TV.Coming to the UK?Yes. Monkey Kingdom is developing a pilot for Channel 4 - its first overseas format acquisition - for broadcast next year. The London-based indie beat the BBC, Granada and Trouble for the UK rights.Will it work here?If it taps into the Jackass audience, a cult following should quickly grow.What the critics say:"They're funny - and the only ones they're hurting are themselves." Tony Atherton, The Ottawa Citizen.