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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Eminem's label launches 'Rap Idol'
Eminem in 8 Mile
Eminem took part in rap duels in the film 8 Mile
Eminem's record label is to launch a televised search for the next hip-hop superstar.

Interscope Records - also home to 50 Cent and Dr Dre - has teamed up with cable channel Showtime for the six-part series.

Titled Interscope Presents The Next, it is designed to be a cross between an American Idol-style talent show and a rap contest as seen in the film 8 Mile.

From October, viewers will see five pairs of rappers go head-to-head in a rap battle to win a place in the show's final.

The 10 finalists - two each from New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Detroit - were chosen by a panel of experts.

But rather than whittle them down by a public vote, the winner of each rap duel will be the person who sends the studio audience the wildest.

Uncensored lyrics

In 8 Mile, viewers saw an aspiring rapper, played by Eminem, rise up through the world of underground rap battles.

Guest rappers will act as referees during the televised duels and lyrics will not be censored.

Criminal checks were not run on potential contestants - but producers say they "did avoid anyone under incarceration".

The one-hour shows will also explore the lifestyles and neighbourhoods of the finalists.

No prizes, other than the exposure, have been confirmed.

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