Singapore sings for ‘Idol’ in 2004

Popular format finally comes to Asia

SINGAPORE — MediaCorp TV’s English-lingo Channel 5 has acquired exclusive rights to Fremantle Media’s smash-hit “Idol” format.

Airing in the second half of 2004, “Singapore Idol” will be the first in Asia, a region that has been slow to succumb to international Idol-mania. Local versions have aired in the U.K., the U.S., Europe, the Pan Arabic region and, most recently, Australia. The format on which “Singapore Idol” is based is jointly owned by FremantleMedia and 19TV.

One of the obstacles, say format vendors, is that some Asian markets see big-brand formats like “Idol” as expensive compared to making their own home-grown talent show — or copying/pirating the format for free.

“Channel 5 was the first to bring ‘American Idol’ to this region with same-day U.S. telecast,” said Selena Ho, veep of Network Programming and Promotions 5, MediaCorp TV. “Now we are the first in Asia to produce the world-famous ‘Idol’ format. ‘Singapore Idol’ will be the biggest local reality event on television next year.”

“We’ve been looking forward to working with MediaCorp TV Channel 5 to bring this entertainment spectacular to Singapore and are delighted to be launching the Idols format in Singapore, our first deal to be announced in Asia,” said Sue Adams, Fremantle’s managing director for Asia.

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