BBC finds its ‘Voice’

Pubcaster outbids ITV for U.K. rights

The BBC has outbid ITV for U.K. rights to John de Mol’s latest hit “The Voice,” the talent-reality hybrid that bowed on NBC in April.

The U.K. version of “The Voice,” regarded as a less in-your-face alternative to ITV1’s “The X Factor” and “Got Talent,” will debut on BBC1 next year.

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said, “It’s a big, exciting and warm-hearted series, and will be a fantastic Saturday night event on BBC1.”

“The Voice” is a Talpa format masterminded by de Mol. It will be produced in the U.K. by Talpa and Shed Media’s Wall to Wall, part owned by Time Warner. Wall to Wall’s creative director Leanne Klein will oversee the project.

By getting into bed with the BBC rather than ITV, de Mol has forfeited significant potential revenues. This is because the pubcaster can’t run premium phone-line votes or sell product placement to advertisers.

The original version, “The Voice of Holland,” was the most-watched talent competition in the history of Dutch TV when it bowed this year.

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