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BBC, Simon Cowell Team Up on ‘The Greatest Dancer’

Talent show is the first deal between Syco Entertainment and the U.K. pubcaster

Simon Cowell
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“The Greatest Dancer” will sashay onto British primetime TV after the BBC ordered the talent competition series from Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Thames.

It is the first deal between the pubcaster and Cowell’s Sony-backed company, which makes the “Got Talent” and “The X Factor” shows that go out on ITV in the U.K. Both feature Cowell as a judge. The presenters and talent on “The Greatest Dancer” have not been announced.

Syco is making the eight-part series with Thames, part of FremantleMedia, which distributes “The X Factor,” “Got Talent,” and “Idol.” The format will see dancers from around the world compete for the title of Greatest Dancer. The show will feature all types of dance, including ballet, jazz, and hip-hop.

The BBC already has “Strictly Come Dancing,” the format that spawned “Dancing With the Stars” in the U.S., but has been looking for a Saturday night shiny-floor hit to replace “The Voice,” which has transferred to ITV.

“With the continued success of ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ the BBC is undoubtedly the home of dance,” said Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning. “By launching ‘The Greatest Dancer’ we want to give the vast array of dance talent across the U.K. the chance to shine.”

Nigel Hall, global head of television for Syco, added: “The auditions for the pilot episode saw some of the most jaw-dropping, heartfelt and moving auditions I’ve ever seen on a dance show. There are some spectacular moments, and we are beyond thrilled to have secured this commission over fierce competition.”

Both the BBC and FremantleMedia have international distribution arms. FremantleMedia International has the international rights to “The Greatest Dancer” and will sell the format internationally.