Unusual TV formats, like the dangerous celebrity diving behind this season's "Splash," often launch in Europe or Japan before finding their way to the U.S. Here's the next crop of possible imports, from extreme baking to turning toddlers loose to run errands on their own.
"The Great British Bake Off"
Three seasons in, "Bake Off" attracts record ratings -- 7.2 million U.K. viewers, with a 25.3% audience share, watched the latest finale -- and has made 78-year-old judge Mary Berry a national heroine. It's the ultimate baking battle, as amateur cooks mix and cook their way through progressively tougher challenges, including "signature," "technical" and "showstopper" bakes.
Coming to U.S.? CBS launches the show in the U.S. on May 29 as "The American Baking Competition," hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. The format has been sold to 12 countries from Australia to Ukraine.
"Hajimete No Otsukai"
This cute show follows youngsters on a well-known Japanese childhood rite of passage: running an errand for Mom for the first time. Hidden cameras trail 3- and 4-year-olds as they go alone to neighborhood shops, encountering distractions like dogs, playgrounds and candy.
Coming to U.S.? A proposal to bring this show to our child-safety-conscious country calls for making it in a safe, contained area like a studio lot.
"Food Glorious Food"
Simon Cowell, creator of "The X Factor," cashes in on the popularity of TV cooking contests with a show in search of Britain's best recipe. The winner's homegrown recipe will be sold at one of the U.K.'s biggest retail chains, Marks & Spencer. There's also a $30,000 prize. Ratings are disappointing, at less than 3 million, with a 12.7% audience share.
Coming to U.S.? Not likely unless ratings improve.
"Your Face Sounds Familiar"
Celebrities take on a new identity and impersonate iconic music stars, winning points from judges for singing, style and believability while trying to score viewers' votes. The catch: They may find themselves transformed into someone older, younger or even of the opposite sex.
Coming to U.S.? Due for the U.K. this summer, the show originated in Spain and has been a hit in Italy, Ukraine, Portugal, Romania and Chile.
This Japanese variety show features an aging boy band that launched as a musical act in 1991. The SMAP quintet hosts celebrity guests and participates in comedy skits and games. "Bistro SMAP" is a popular segment, with the members donning chef coats and hats and cooking dishes for celebrity judges, who have included Lady Gaga.
Coming to U.S.? Perhaps someone will be inspired to give a U.S. boy band a similar show.