New game tests people's music knowledge

The song remains the same? Fox has greenlit a pilot for a tune competition that has a similar refrain to a project in development at the Peacock.

Fox’s project, which has the working title of “Off the Charts,” from RDF USA, will challenge contestants to recite lines from pop songs from memory. Contestants will be able to select songs from a particular decade. A house band with a singer will play a portion of the selected song. When the band stops, the contestant has to fill in the next line of the song verbatim or the contestant’s eliminated. The prize money escalates as the tunes become more esoteric.

NBC earlier this month committed to the musical quizzer “The Great American Singing Bee” from producers Phil Gurin and Bob Horowitz. “Singing Bee” challenges contestants to “sing in the blanks” when presented with partial song lyrics. (Daily Variety, April 2).

With Fox’s “American Idol” raking in some 25 million-30 million viewers twice a week, it’s no surprise that the nets are looking high and low for variations on the singing-competish theme. CBS, for one, is working up a new rendition of “Name That Tune.”

“Off the Charts” was created by Jeff Apploff and will be executive produced by Apploff, Greg Goldman and RDF USA chief Chris Coelen. RDF was expected to unveil the original format to international TV buyers this week at the Mip TV trade show in Cannes. Internationally, the show is dubbed “Sing It to Win It.”

“This is not a talent show — everyone loves music and anyone can play,” Coelen said. “We feel the opportunity to work with great creative partners in (Fox alternative programming chief) Mike Darnell and Fox gives us the chance to deliver a big, broadly skewing demographic hit.”

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