‘Idol’ skates on Iceland

Pop contest turns spotlight on Scandi talent

AMSTERDAM — Flush with fevered ratings from its “American Idol” import, Iceland has become the latest territory to attempt to make the temperature rise in that frozen clime with its own version of FremantleMedia/19TV’s “Idol.”

Iceland’s version of “Idol,” titled “Idol — Search for a Star” (Idol-Stjornuleit), will begin airing on Icelandic Broadcasting Corp.’s pay-TV Channel 2 the last week of September.

“It’s been a hit the world over. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work here,” Heimir Jonasson, head of production, who is overseeing the “Idol” project, told Daily Variety.

Jonasson noted that ratings for the import “American Idol,” which recently aired on Channel 2’s “open window,” peaked at a 21% share before. While Channel 2 is a pay TV, it has an open window between 6:30-8 p.m. each evening.

Media house Northern Lights Communications, which owns the Icelandic Broadcasting Corp., in addition to several other TV and radio stations, is already in production with the 18-episode series.

Channel 2 will air “Idol Extra,” which shows behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with contestants and their families, in its open window as well as on the Northern Lights Communications’ youth music channel Popptivi.

Jonasson said the channel won’t have problems turning its version of Idols into the same extravaganza it has enjoyed in other territories. “We intend to cross-promote this on all of our TV and radio stations,” he added.

Northern Lights, or at least one of its owners, is no stranger to the demands of cranking up Hollywood style: one of its biggest stakeholders is Hollywood producer Sigurjon Sighvatsson (“K-19: The Widowmaker”).

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