February 11, 2006 12:01 AM by Joe Blackmon
NBC is looking for America’s next great song and performer by partnering with Reveille in a new live, multimedia performance talent competition series based on the legendary "Eurovision Song Contest" series that has been a monster hit in Europe for 50 years and helped launch the careers of Celine Dion, ABBA and Olivia Newton-John. The announcement was made by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.
" ‘Eurovision’ is an upbeat and entertaining series that has consistently proven its strong appeal across Europe," said Reilly. "It’s a winning formula and Reveille will adapt it to include a more uniquely American flavor that will build to a dramatic crescendo in the season finale."
" ‘Eurovision’ is the granddaddy of all talent shows and the Super Bowl of singing," said Reveille CEO Ben Silverman, who will also serve as executive producer. "I can’t wait to tap into America’s multicultural heritage and see our regional flavor come to life. This will be the first talent show to also tap into the new digital landscape. With the multi-platform success of ‘The Office’ and ‘The Biggest Loser,’ NBC is the perfect partner."
While more details on the American version of the series are currently in development, the new version will employ a multimedia format, combining both online and televised components. All 50 states and the District of Columbia will be represented after each state completes an online competition that will also feature a digital platform to help site-users select each representative. The state-level winners will then advance to the broadcast series to perform for the title.
The actual voting process will be left entirely to the viewers through an array of similar multimedia and high-tech resources. The performer of the winning original song will receive a recording contract and will see their single produced and released by a major record label. The competition will be open to amateurs and professionals — individual performers, duos or groups.
Before "Pop Idol" and "American Idol," there was "Eurovision." For the past 50 years, millions of Europeans have tuned into "Eurovision," making it one of the most loved and watched international live entertainment shows in the world, attracting up to 100 million TV viewers from across the globe every year.
The show has launched the careers of performers who have become household names all over the world. ABBA won the contest on behalf of Sweden in 1974 with a rousing performance of "Waterloo," while Celine Dion won for Switzerland in 1988. Olivia Newton-John competed on behalf of the United Kingdom in 1974, and in 1958, the now-forgotten third-place Italian winner performed what would become the most widely recorded "Eurovision" song of all time: "Volare."
Silverman is the American show’s executive producer. Reveille, which will produce, is a leading independent production and distribution company that acquired the format for domestic production from the European Broadcasting Union. Chris Grant, head of International Distribution for Reveille, was instrumental in securing the rights to the format from the EBU. Reveille also produces NBC’s "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser."