Skein follows youngsters as they learn pro soccer

BUENOS AIRES — No. 2 broadcaster Artear-Canal 13 is developing a reality show centered on finding Argentina’s next soccer ace, tapping buzz surrounding the World Cup tourney that wrapped June 30.

Artear, a subsid of local media conglom Grupo Clarin, plans to launch “Camino a la Gloria” (The Road to Glory) in July.

The program will trail about two dozen 14- to 19-year-olds as they learn the ropes of professional soccer. The prize is the chance to play in the lower division of a pro club in Europe. Other prizes include a new car and a yearlong contract with a soccer rep to find a club for the player.

The broadcaster and the show’s producer, Cuatro Cabezas, the local outfit behind last year’s reality hit “The Bar,” expect high ratings for “Camino” because of the huge popularity of soccer in Argentina.

The nation is home to some of the world’s best players, including veteran hero Diego Maradona, and it remains Argentina’s favorite sport despite the country’s early exit from the World Cup.

The companies invited wannabes to write in, and they plan to try out hopefuls starting June 30. The coaches will select the winner at the end of the 16-episode series.

Top-ranked Telefe, a unit of Spain’s Admira, had planned to launch a similar show called “El Equipo de los Suenos” (The Dream Team).

However, the broadcaster and the co-producers, Ideas del sur Producciones and Admira’s PyP Endemol, backed down, arguing “Camino” was ahead of them in development and the country’s depressed ad market would only support one reality talent format for soccer.

Instead, Telefe is out to turn five young men into a boy band with a male-version of “Popstars.” Bandana, the girl group that emerged from “Popstars,” has played soldout concerts, put out a top-selling record and is planning a U.S. tour.

The broadcaster is co-producing the show with local production outfit RGB Entertainment, which was behind the local version of “Popstars” on third-ranked Azul Television last year. Azul is owned by Admira and JP Morgan Chase.

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