TikTok has discussed producing a reality TV show built around its namesake video app, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, part of a drive to broaden its appeal and showcase different ways of using its videos.
TikTok has been approached by independent production companies with pitches, and has debated a few ideas for a show internally, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are preliminary. The company, part of Chinese technology giant ByteDance, hasn’t decided on a format, a host or which talent will be involved.
TikTok has been downloaded more than two billion times over the past three years, earning a place alongside Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube as an essential part of teenagers’ daily habits. Like those other apps, it first found an audience among teens and tweens, and a TV show could help it reach an older segment of the population.
Producers have cited the Fox show “Beat Shazam” as one model. Hosted by singer and actor Jamie Foxx, the show challenges contestants to identify a song more quickly than the competition. The highest-scoring team then tries to beat the namesake app, which is owned by Apple Inc. Fox has aired three seasons of the show and picked it up for a fourth.
It’s not yet clear how a TikTok show would work, and the project wouldn’t move forward without buy-in from more senior executives at the company. But executives like the idea of showcasing how popular videos from the app can live on in other places.
The service is known for loops, wherein people make brief videos set to a certain song. Some of these videos are dances, others are pranks, and some are just gags. Major celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart and John Krasinski have begun using it, posting videos from their homes and the gym.
Any show would need to have a musical element. Songs that first became popular in these videos have become global hits, and record labels have started changing the names of songs to make them easier to find on the app.
Usage of TikTok, already on the rise, has exploded during the past month as billions of people are stuck at home with more time on their hands. It has been the most popular app in the world, outside of China, according to App Annie. ByteDance has a version of TikTok in China called Douyin.