CMT orders ‘Duet’ reality show

Network buys episodes from FremantleMedia

CMT has purchased 11 hourlong episodes of “Can You Duet?,” a new reality competition show from “American Idol” producer FremantleMedia.

Skein will scour the country for the ideal crooner twosome — a twist to the “Idol” formula that Fremantle has already tried overseas on Denmark’s Canal 5 with significant ratings success in young demos. The show is slated for spring.

“We’ve been looking to get into the music competition game, but we really wanted to do it correctly,” said CMT head of development Bob Kusbit. Kusbit emphasizes that the show will be “uniquely country” but readily admitted that “if in the future the show is in any way compared to how well ‘American Idol’ looked and did, that would be great.”

Kusbit, who will serve as one of the show’s exec producers, said the project will contain more behind-the-scenes contestant drama than other competition shows. Kusbit also noted that “Can You Duet?” would seeking a wider age range than “Idol’s” youthful 16-28 contestant range.

The producers are working to find a record label to sign the show’s winners. No official announcement has been made, but Fremantle chief creative officer Eugene Young noted that “it’s no secret that Fremantle has an alliance with Sony/BMG.” Fremantle’s parent company, RTL Group, is 90% owned by Bertelsmann.

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