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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 12:08 GMT
Pop Idol 'sold to US'
Simon Fuller was behind the Spice Girls' success
Will Young won the UK version of Pop Idol
The team that made search-for-a-star TV series Pop Idol a success in the UK is set to launch the show in the United States, according to press reports.

Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe, the men behind Pop Idol and Popstars, have flown to the US and are reported to have signed a deal with TV network Fox.

Simon Fuller was behind the Spice Girls' success
Simon Fuller was behind the Spice Girls' success
Fuller, who used to manage the Spice Girls, could make up to $50m (£35m) from the sale of the format, to be called American Idol, according to the Sunday Times.

The UK version, produced by Fuller's company, 19, was a huge hit with a finalé that attracted more than 13 million viewers and a record 8.7 million phone votes.

Fox are expected to pay $1m (£700,000) per episode for 15 episodes of the show, in which budding stars are given no-nonsense assessments by expert judges and the public votes for the final winner.

Simon Fuller was behind the Spice Girls' success
Simon Cowell has become famous as a Pop Idol judge
Another $20m (£14m) could come from sponsorship and telephone revenues, the paper says.

Talent search shows have had success in the US before - pop group O-Town came out of the show Making the Band, but the groups formed on two series of Popstars have not yet made the big time.

The UK Pop Idol winner Will Young is currently preparing to release his debut single, Anything Is Possible/Evergreen, while his success is still fresh in viewers' minds.

Record-breaking

Two other contestants, Helen Farrar and Rachel Makins, who made it through to the final 50, have just signed a record deal and are working with Motown legend Edwin Starr.

Hayley Evetts
Contestant Hayley Evetts now works for ITV1 show This Morning
Fuller is reported to be in negotiations to sell the show's format to more countries as well as the US.

Several countries have already screened their own versions - including Spain, where the show broke the record for the biggest ever TV audience last week.

France's Star Academy has also been a hit, while the third series of Popstars in Australia is currently searching for just one winner.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol's career hots up
12 Feb 02 | Media reports
Spanish pop show breaks the record
11 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: Your views
13 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: Can Will make it?
10 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Will wins Pop Idol
23 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: What's all the fuss about?
29 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
New job for 'Nasty Nigel'
28 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Spice svengali goes online
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