Few trends have had as much impact on television as formats have in recent years. Long confined to the fringes of the TV industry, they have risen to prominence since the late 1990s. Today, they are a global business with hundreds of programmes adapted across the world at any one time, from mundane game shows to blockbuster talent competitions, from factual entertainment to high-end drama. Based on exclusive industry access, this book provides an in-depth analysis of the complex world of the TV format from its origins to the present day. Chalaby delivers a comprehensive account of the TV format trading system and conceptualizes the global value chain that underpins it, unpicking the corporate strategies and power relations within. Using interviews with format creators, he uncovers the secrets behind the world's most travelled formats, exploring their narrative structure and cultural meanings.