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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 11:59 GMT
US gets Pop Idol
Gareth Gates and Will Young
The UK Pop Idol finalists have become stars
The people behind talent show Pop Idol, which became a TV phenomenon in the UK, are to take the show to the United States, it has been confirmed.

Former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller has signed a deal with US TV network Fox to re-create the show, which became a ratings hit in the UK, and whose stars have gone on to release record-breaking singles.


When I dreamt up the idea of Pop Idol, I always saw it is a global concept

Simon Fuller
His company, 19, will keep the format where thousands of hopeful singers are whittled down by critical judges, with the public then asked to decide who wins.

As in the UK version, the winner will get a contract with record company BMG, and if the show is a success, they are likely to become instant stars.

"When I dreamt up the idea of Pop Idol, I always saw it is a global concept, and I'm so delighted to see it being made for America," Fuller said.

There had been reports that the deal would make Fuller $50m (£35m) - on top of the millions the UK show has already generated.

Simon Fuller was behind the Spice Girls' success
Simon Cowell has become famous as a Pop Idol judge
The line-up for the judging panel for the US version has not been revealed - but record executive Simon Cowell has said he has had talks to reprise his UK role.

He became the judge that viewers loved to hate, making scathing comments about the contestants' talents.

The first auditions for participants will take place over the next few months.

"America is full of incredibly talented performers looking for their first break," according to Gail Berman, Fox's president of entertainment.

Record-breaking

"With this new series, we will fulfil a lot of dreams and let our viewers make someone a superstar."

The finalé of the UK version was a national talking point, attracting more than 13 million viewers and a record 8.7 million phone votes.

The winner, Will Young, smashed the record for the fastest-selling single in UK history when his debut release sold 1.1 million copies in its first week just two weeks after the show finished.

The runner-up, Gareth Gates, looks set to come close to that total with his cover of Unchained Melody, which is almost certain to go to number one in the charts on Sunday.

International success

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.

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

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

Pop Idol will follow successful UK TV exports including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and The Weakest Link.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol 'sold to US'
20 Mar 02 | Music
Young throws in the towel
15 Mar 02 | Reviews
Glossy debut for Pop Idol stars
18 Mar 02 | Reviews
Gareth Gates: Your views
23 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol: What's all the fuss about?
12 Feb 02 | Media reports
Spanish pop show breaks the record
29 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
New job for 'Nasty Nigel'
28 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Spice svengali goes online
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