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Inside Move: ‘Power’ to the people

'Idol' worship expands to Brit political arena

“Power Idol,” the working title of a political version of “Pop Idol,” could soon get elected to a U.K. broadcast deal.

Peter Bazalgette, chairman of production outfit Endemol U.K. and producer of “Big Brother,” is in talks with broadcasters about launching the format, which will pit aspiring politicos against one another for viewers’ votes on live TV.

“Power Idol” follows hot on the heels of stateside political reality skein “American Candidate,” which has pledged to discover a “people’s candidate” for the 2004 Presidential election.

Bazalgette, the godfather of the leisure reality show genre via such shows as “Changing Rooms” and “Ready, Steady Cook,” has taken heat from U.K. media critics who blame him for the dumbing-down of TV.

But Bazalgette insists that a political version of “Pop Idol” is not only appropriate but necessary.

“Broadcasters have not yet had the chutzpah to commission a formatted popularity contest for politics, but we’re now discussing it with them,” he says.

Bazalgette even suggests “Power Idol” “may be the key to younger voters watching political programs.”

While reality show opponents will give Bazalgette no quarter, proponents of direct democracy welcomed Bazalgette’s proposed show.

Stephan Shakespeare, topper of online opinion research outfit YouGov, believes the proposed “Power Idol” format has “the potential to change the face of politics.”

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