Burnett, De Mol, Warner Horizon team on show
NBC has partnered with a reality supergroup — Mark Burnett, John de Mol and Warner Horizon TV — to take on “American Idol.”
Burnett, de Mol and Warner Horizon are behind “The Voice of America,” a singing competition NBC is racing to launch this spring, giving it a jump on Fox’s upcoming “The X Factor.”
Show enters an already crowded field of talent-based reality shows, including the Peacock’s own “America’s Got Talent,” and will bow while Fox is airing its revamped “Idol,” post-Simon Cowell.
In “The Voice of America,” based on Dutch format “The Voice of Holland,” from de Mol’s Talpa Media, NBC and the producers believe they’ve found a killer twist on the talent competish format.
Show will center on four celebs are tasked with mentoring and coaching teams of singers formed based completely on blind auditions.
In other words, rather than potentially choosing contestants with great looks but lackluster voices, the audition process is solely on how well the hopefuls can sing.
NBC noted that “The Voice of Holland” has edged out the Dutch versions of “X Factor” and “Idol” to become that country’s top-rated competition show.
“When we saw the blind auditions on ‘Voice of Holland,’ we had a ‘Eureka moment,'” said Paul Telegdy, exec veep of alternative programming for NBC and Universal Media Studios. “It was one of those times where you say, ‘Why didn’t I think of that, and that’s why I don’t have a private jet and John de Mol does.”
NBC had already been looking to develop a talent competition with Burnett, who had already announced auditions in a number of cities for January and February.
“I’ve been talking to NBC for ages about another talent show but separately we were all very aware of ‘Voice of Holland,'” Burnett said. “It’s a phenomenal, monster hit. And John de Mol was someone I first met when ‘Survivor’ was starting, right when ‘Big Brother’ was starting. I’ve always admired him.”
Telegdy was eventually able to marry the producers on a U.S. version of “Voice.” Now comes the race to get it on the air.
“We’ve been in Defcon 2 for some time with a singing competition,” said Telegdy, who added than many producers have been pitching in for months to help launch such a project.
The audition process will also be shorter than for most shows, and potential contestants will be brought to L.A., keeping those logistics simple, Telegdy said.
“Auditions are usually a huge, time-consuming process,” he noted. “And we’re also buying an incredibly successful pre-existing format.”
Telegdy and Burnett said they’re still in talks with the show’s potential celebrity coaches. The gig will be time-consuming, but the duo said the rewards for these stars could include being a part of a future superstar’s career. Telegdy compared it to Usher’s role in turning Justin Bieber into a household sensation.
“Think of the investment they’re making,” Burnett said. “These coaches have got their skin in the game. They’ll be joined at the hip with these contestants and are making a huge investment in time and energy.”
On “Voice of America,” once the celebrity coaches choose their teams, they’ll mentor their contestants. Eventually those performers will be pitted against each other and eliminated until each celebrity artist has just two finalists a piece.
Viewers will then be asked to pick one winner from each team. Those four finalists will then face off to compete in the finale — with one winner being named “The Voice of America.” Winner gets a recording contract.
“The Voice of America” reps the first show developed out of Warner Horizon’s new programming partnership with Talpa Media. De Mol is the creator and will exec produce with Burnett. Talpa Prods., Mark Burnett Prods. and Warner Horizon are the production companies.
“The pickup by NBC is a huge reward for all the hard work me and my company have put in this show,” de Mol said. “It would be fantastic to see ‘The Voice’ as successful in the U.S. as it is in Holland.”