Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is, in many ways, a pretty straightforward reality show along the same lines as Dog Whisperer, Nanny 911 or most of the other professional help shows that chronicle a single person or family each episode. Apparently, however, its basic structure wasn't clear initially and the producer behind the breakout hit originally considered taking it in some very different directions.
Veteran producer Gail Berman, probably best known for her work on Buffy, recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Tidying Up, and in the interview, she revealed her company, The Jackal Group, originally didn't know what to do with the rights to Marie Kondo's bestselling book after purchasing it.
We acquired the rights to Kondo's book about three years ago when we met Marie and started to work with her. Initially, we were interested in doing the show in a scripted format and we were also approached to do it as a film, but we finally identified the most appropriate way for this journey to end. There were ups and downs, but we always thought that there was something very special in Marie and her message.
But wait, isn't this the most obvious reality show of all-time you're probably thinking to yourself? Well, yes and no. The format Berman and company eventually settled on its great. Everyone I know loves Tidying Up, but on paper, the idea of taking a woman with limited English and having her go into the homes of random people with a translator doesn't sound like such a slam dunk. In that way, it's really quite unconventional and risky, but the show actually works at least in part because Marie Kondo is mesmerizing on camera. She comes off as so genuine and full of life. Cleaning up and throwing things away aren't exactly the most riveting tasks (although it worked for Hoarders too), but there's just enough Marie and just enough helpful tips to make the runtime fly by.
That being said, if the Marie Kondo craze continues and subsequent seasons of the show prove just as popular, there's a real possibility we could see some of these other ideas down the line, whether it be a show about a tidying expert or a movie about how the star ended up in the business. If there's one thing Hollywood is good at, it's aggressively figuring out how much of an actor/ personality/ genre/ series the general public can take. If there is money to be made off something, it'll eventually get dispersed out.
For now, however, I'm glad Tidying Up With Marie Kondo exists in exactly the format it does. I'm glad it was found when it didn't exactly premiere to incredible expectations or fanfare, and I can't wait to watch more charming episodes in the future. It's sparking joy for me, and right now, that's all that matters.