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Pearlman pounces on ‘Top’

Long-running BBC skein finds U.S. buyer

“Top of the Pops,” one of the longest-running TV series in the history of the BBC, has found an American buyer, Louis J. Pearlman (“Making the Band”).

Pearlman said his goal is to get the American version of “Top of the Pops” on a broadcast network in primetime by the second quarter; he’s in talks with the Los Angeles deejay Jojo Wright of KIIS to take over as permanent host, joining with a celebrity guest co-host each week, who could be a musician or a name actor with a new movie to plug.

The first network Pearlman will approach, he said, is Fox, for the obvious reason that “American Idol,” its powerhouse version of another hit British music series, keeps getting stronger in the ratings as its begins its fifth season. Two other networks he expects to have talks with are the WB and ABC, Pearlman said.

The American “Top of the Pops,” which will keep the title and logo of the BBC series, will be able to draw on more than 2,000 material from the British edition; he cited a performance by Elton John that would play well in the U.S.

But Pearlman plans on making most of the performances on the American show live, mixing up-and-coming talent in with well-known artists.

Pearlman, who is networking at the Natpe convention here, is a music-industry veteran who helped to develop such groups as the Backstreet Boys and N-Sync. His “Making the Band” series ran on both ABC and MTV.

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