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Syco, Fremantle, Hunan TV to Bring ‘Got Talent’ Format to China

Fremantle, Syco Entertainment and Hunan TV announced a partnership Monday to co-develop a new 13-part series for China based on the “Got Talent” format franchise. The prime time show, whose Chinese name translates to “World’s Got Talent,” will air on Hunan TV in April.

The series will bring together memorable and fan-favorite acts from more than 30 “Got Talent” franchises around the world to compete against each other in Changsha, Hunan. The winner will clinch the title of “China’s World Champion of Got Talent” and a hefty grand prize.

The “Got Talent” format was created by Simon Cowell and is co-owned by Syco Entertainment and Fremantle. It has 71 localized versions across the planet viewed by an estimated 900 million people worldwide.

“What Hunan TV is really after is co-developing original content with our partners by engaging global creative [sic] into the local market at the very beginning of the development process,” said the station’s head of formats and international business Lester Hu. He said he expected the show to “make a splash in both local and international markets.”

Satellite TV stations in China are facing increasing competition from China’s powerful Internet streaming platforms, including iQiyi and Tencent, which have developed their own original shows to meet the demands of viewers who are increasingly consuming content online. The Chinese “Got Talent” offering enters a crowded field of talent competition shows such as iQiyi’s “Idol Producer” and Tencent’s “Produce 101,” though none with a similar international bent.

Vivian Yin, CEO of Fremantle China, said the series was “inspired by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative” — Chinese president Xi Jinping’s global infrastructure-building initiative. Funding and official support for cultural exchange projects targeting “Belt and Road” countries have ballooned in its wake. China’s “World’s Got Talent” will “celebrate the cultural diversity and stories of ordinary people with extraordinary talents,” she said.

“This format has already entertained a global audience of almost a billion and we are delighted to have Hunan TV commission this exciting production with our Fremantle partners, which will showcase a variety of Chinese acts as well as the very best of our ‘Got Talent’ global family,” said Abi Doyle, vice president of international productions at Syco.

China has a rocky history with foreign talent show formats. “The Voice of China” show on Zhejiang TV — a supremely popular localization of Talpa’s “The Voice” format —had to rebrand as “Sing! China” amidst copyright disputes.

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