NBC, de Mol and Burnett to raise Voice in U.S.

NBC, fresh from a strong performance by its a capella singing competition The Sing Off, has announced plans for a new talent contest, and this time it has brought in two big guns from the unscripted world to hit the high notes.
January 1, 2011

NBC, fresh from a strong performance by its a capella singing competition The Sing Off, has announced plans for a new talent contest, and this time it’s brought in two big guns from the unscripted world to hit the high notes.

The Voice will bring together format creator John de Mol (Big Brother, Fear Factor) and exec producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) for a series that will, according to Paul Telegdy, executive vice president, alternative programming, NBC and Universal Media Studios, “focus on amazing voices.”

The series, set to launch in spring of this year, is based on the Dutch hit The Voice of Holland, which is currently the top singing competition in that country, knocking out the local versions of X Factor and Idol. As part of its framework, four celebrity artists head up four teams of singers that they will coach throughout the competition. Singers will be eliminated until each team has one remaining, who will then square off in the finals, with the TV audience also able to weigh in on the ultimate winner. The grand prize, as with Idol, is a recording contract.

Unlike the other singing competition series, the initial audition round will be a “blind audition,” meaning the judges will only be able to hear the singers and not see them. If the coaches are impressed by the talent during this first audition, they can then select the singer for his or her individual team.

Burnett told realscreen that he’d been working on another talent project with NBC. “Then I saw [The Voice of Holland], as did NBC, and Paul Telegdy and I both said the same thing – ‘Wow, I wish we’d thought of that.’”

“As soon as we saw the Dutch format, we knew this was completely different and really exciting,” said Telegdy in a statement. “The pickup by NBC is a huge reward for all the hard work me and my company have put in this show,” added de Mol. “It would be fantastic to see The Voice as successful in the U.S. as it is in Holland, because that would mean we trace solid new American singing talent.”

The series is the first fruit of the newly-established relationship between de Mol’s Talpa Media and Warner Horizon Television, through which Warner Horizon will develop for the U.S. market programs based on Talpa formats.

Format Focus Briefs

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About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.