ABC is jumping back into the reality singing-competition genre and adding a twist. The network has given a 10-episode series order to “Boy Band,” a show that will pit singers against one another in a battle to join the next music-group sensation, Variety has learned exclusively. Produced by Matador Content (“Lip Sync Battle”), the series is set to debut this summer on the Alphabet.
No host or judges have been selected yet, but insiders say that ABC is out to a number of boy-band and girl-band members past and present for the role of host and for the judges panel. The judges will be called “architects,” and will serve as mentors.
Performers will compete for spots in a band with a recording contract at Hollywood Records, with viewers voting live at home for their five favorite potential members. “Boy Band” will be executive produced by Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson, Jane Mun, and Joel Relampagos.
ABC has long lacked a signature singing competition series. But the network has found success on the unscripted side in game-show programming, leading the wave of that genre across the broadcast networks. ABC’s newest addition to its slew of game shows is a reboot of “Battle of Network Stars,” which is in development. The net is also home to revivals of “Celebrity Family Feud” with Steve Harvey, “Match Game” with Alec Baldwin, “The $100,000 Pyramid” with Michael Strahan and “The Gong Show,” which is next on deck. ABC is also the leader in dating shows with “The Bachelor” franchise, which continues to enjoy strong ratings 15 years into its run.
Singing competitions have been a fixture on the television landscape since iconic series such as “Star Search.” But no new show has broken out in the genre since NBC premiered “The Voice” in 2011. ABC has made several attempts to find a hit singing competition in recent years, most recently with short-lived efforts including “Duets” in 2012, and “Sing Your Face Off” and “Rising Star” in 2014. The latter was a big-budget gambit that lasted only 10 episodes over one summer.
Broadcasters had cooled on singing competitions in the last two years, with Fox canceling stalwart “American Idol” last season amid ratings declines. But the genre is now picking up steam. Producer FremantleMedia is shopping a rebooted version of “American Idol,” as Variety reported exclusively in February. The Peacock also greenlit “The Stream,” a singing show that will focus on digital and streaming musicians bouncing off of the success of artists like Justin Bieber.
No hit musical act has been launched by a singing-competition series since One Direction appeared on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” in 2010 and Fifth Harmony appeared on the same show in 2012.