Reality too much for Gauls

New 'Academy' places second in debut

PARIS — The French may already be tiring of reality formats.

The latest addition to the fray, TF1’s exhaustive 2½ hour-plus “Star Academy” pilot — think “Fame” live — snared a 30% market share in its Saturday night timeslot (5.4 million viewers), placing second to a France 3 TV movie that nabbed 5.9 million viewers.

“Star Academy” will follow 16 wannabe performers sequestered in a chateau outside Paris as they submit to intensive voice and dance lessons — and a no doubt sadistic and humiliating process of elimination — in the hope of becoming the next Johnny Halliday or Vanessa Paradis.

Over the next 13 weeks, contestants, who will be filmed 22 hours a day, can be viewed six nights a week on TF1 or 24/24 on cable or online.

The winner of the Endemol (“Loft Story”) produced show will obtain a 1 million euros/one album deal with Universal Music and perform three nights at the Olympia Theatre, a venue recently purchased by Universal.

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