Fuller update to give show an interactive spin
This article was updated at 7:49 p.m.
“American Bandstand” has got a good beat, and 19 Entertainment’s Simon Fuller would like to dance to it.
Fuller, the brain trust behind Fox’s megahit “American Idol,” has pacted with Dick Clark Prods. to dust off the “Bandstand” franchise. “Bandstand,” which aired on ABC between 1957 and 1987, hasn’t been seen since 1989 (after brief stints in syndication and on the USA Network).
Mosaic Media Group prexy Allen Shapiro, whose company owns Dick Clark Prods., first approached Fuller about adding his “Idol” touch to a “Bandstand” update.
“Bringing back an American tradition like ‘Bandstand’ has always been a dream of mine, and I can’t think of a better person to partner with than Simon Fuller,” Clark said.
Fuller said he had already been mulling ways to develop a contemporary music show for the States in the vein of the U.K.’s “Top of the Pops.”
“It felt like I could take the essence of ‘Bandstand’ of yesteryear and bring it to the 21st century,” Fuller said.
Shapiro and Fuller plan to meet with the broadcast webs this week on a primetime show, probably geared toward Saturday nights (where the nets have already turned to low-cost repeats and reality). Shapiro said he and Fuller are also mulling a weekday version of the show, which could perhaps be produced in conjunction with one of the eventual broadcast outlet’s cable siblings.
The exec producers are also talking with advertisers about setting up a sponsorship/product integration deal such as “Idol’s” deal with Coke, Ford and AT&T.
“This show will reach young America, and I know brands will be interested in that,” Shapiro said. “We’ve been getting calls from everywhere.”
Fuller has a number of tweaks in the works for the new “Bandstand,” starting with the possibility of taping the show simultaneously in four cities, with hosts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York.
“It will be a very interactive show, where we’ll jump around to various cities across America and get an update on what’s going on (in music, fashion and lifestyle),” he said.
Fuller also plans to add a contest element to the show, a la “Idol,” but this time involving the show’s dancers.
Viewers will get to know the dancers, much like they did in the early days of “American Bandstand” (as recounted currently in the NBC drama “American Dreams”). But this time, they’ll vote for their favorites. Viewers will also get a shot at becoming a dancer on the show.
“You’ll know and identify with the kids in the studio, and there’s a real sense that you might end up on it next week,” he said.
Big Internet element
“Bandstand” will include a heavy Internet component, he said. And unlike the original show, known for its lip-sync performances, this time most of the musical artists will sing live, Fuller said.
Some things won’t change — dancers will still groove to the week’s hits (although a live, in-person DJ will be there to spin the tunes) and vote on whether to play or slay a selection of new singles.
“This is a cool idea,” Shapiro said. “Simon is the guy who I know has the best sense of the relationship between music and TV. And this is a great brand.”