‘It’s a big idea with a simple hook – a quiz show with an unlimited jackpot’

DISTRIBUTOR Banijay Rights
PRODUCERS Hello Dolly; Mitre Studios
LENGTH 5 x 60 minutes

Limitless Win is a high-stakes quiz format created by UK indie Hello Dolly and co-produced with British TV stalwarts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s Mitre Studios.

Launched in ITV primetime in January 2022, the five-part debut series consolidated to 6 million viewers per episode. That makes it the broadcaster’s biggest entertainment launch since The Masked Singer in January 2020.

International distribution (format and tape) is being handled by Banijay Rights. Banijay Group global head of content operations Lucas Green describes the show as “a marketer’s dream”.

“It’s a big idea with a simple hook – a quiz show with an unlimited jackpot and an augmented reality money ladder that goes up and up into infinity,” he says. “ITV was so happy with the first series it has already renewed it.”

Banijay doesn’t own Hello Dolly or Mitre, but “saw the international potential straight away, so we got involved early”, adds Green. “We’re already in discussions in a couple of territories and expect deals around Mip TV. One thing we especially like is that it performs well among 16-34s.”

In terms of the show’s gameplay, a pair of contestants get a crack at winning a ‘limitless’ sum of money by answering questions and ascending the money ladder.

The show starts with contestants earning lives in a series of quick-fire general knowledge questions against the clock. When they have banked these lives, they ascend the ladder by answering questions that always have a number as an answer – using the lives to help them work their way up.

The aim of the game is to get as close to the correct answer as possible – without going over. If the contestants go under the correct answer, they lose lives. If they go over, the game ends and they leave with nothing. If they give a correct answer, they bank the last money amount passed on the limitless ladder.

Limitless Win’s mechanics themselves are quite complex, but Green says audiences are quickly sucked in by the bold premise. “In addition, the money ladder questions are not just aimed at quizzers. They’re the kind of sticky questions that families at home can argue over, such as how many chunks are there in a Toblerone? Or how many items in a full English breakfast?”

Despite Ant & Dec’s presence on the original, Green says the format is not dependent on top-tier talent. “There’s no question it would be a great vehicle for top talent in other territories, but any host who is good with people could work.”

An obvious issue for buyers is whether they might end up paying out a gigantic prize, but the esoteric nature of the questions makes massive wins akin to winning a lottery. The highest prize in the UK version, for example, was £500,000 – good, but not enough to break the bank.

The show’s appeal is easy to see in major markets, but how does the notion of an infinite win fit with other territories? “It’s always important for us to work with formats that are scalable,” Green says. “There are ways to stay true to the concept while making it manageable for smaller markets. We certainly don’t intend to price ourselves out of the market.”