BBC3 eyes U.S version of ‘The Voice’

American show to complement U.K. version

The BBC is poised to buy the U.S version of “The Voice,” the Talpa talent show, to air on youth-friendly digital web BBC3 next year.

“We will show it once the U.K. adaptation of ‘The Voice’ airs on BBC1,” said BBC3 controller Zai Bennett, speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild. “The first episode is one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen and is perfect for our audience. (Judge) Christina Aguilera was fantastic and I know that people who watch BBC3 will love her.”

Bennett, who left commercial web ITV this year to run BBC3, said his channel was still in the market for U.S. shows despite budget cuts.

“Seventy per cent of BBC3’s schedule has to be original U.K. shows so that only leaves 30% for imports,” said Bennett. “Acquisitions are cost effective but the shows have to be right for BBC3.”

One of BBC3’s most popular shows is edgy toon “Family Guy,” and it also airs U.S. movies.

But unusually for a channel pitched at the 16-34 demo, BBC3 spends significant amounts of coin on local comedies and documentaries. Comedy hits “Little Britain” and “Gavin and Stacey” bowed on BBC3 before being promoted to more mainstream BBC webs and BBC America.