Recent years have seen an astonishing growth in the adaptation of program formats in television systems across the world. Under the new market conditions of the multi-channel cluster brought about by new technologies and increased privatization of service, the adaptation of successful and popular TV formats from one place to another is occurring on an increasingly regular basis. Hence, the remaking of different national versions of Big Brother and Pop Idol are only part of what is going on. In fact, from Chinese versions of Coronation Street and Sex and the City, Indian and Indonesian remakes of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, program clones of Ground Force and other make-over and renovation shows across Europe and the UK, the present is the era of the global TV format.
But what exactly is a format? After all, programs have been copied and imitated since the beginnings of broadcasting.