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PROJECT FAME (article first published : 2004-05-22)

Project Fame, M-Net's latest pan-African talent extravaganza sponsored by MTN, rockets into orbit on May 23 at 18h00 and will dominate M-Net's screening schedule for the next three months.

Says Carl Fischer, M-Net Director of Local Productions: "Movie mogul Sam Goldwyn used to instruct directors of action epics at MGM to start with an earthquake and then build up to a climax, and Project Fame will stick closely to that principle. No dull moments here - and that's a promise. Action and drama will abound from the outset... and then pick up speed!"

26 hugely talented unknowns will appear on the African entertainment stage for the first time. That's what awaits viewers in the first phase of Project Fame comprising hour-long shows on Sunday evenings. Over the next three weeks, the list of aspirants is cut from 26 to 16 in three Heat shows and viewerswill have a say in the nerve-racking selection process. The survivors earn a coveted place in The Academy, where their talents will be honed and the rough edges smoothed out for the rest of the ride.

The programme goes out live on May 30 at 18h00 from a venue in downtown Johannesburg. Eight South African contestants perform and the Board of Directors gives two of them a free passage to the next round, putting the remaining six on probation. The teachers from The Academy save one and the students save one. Viewers get to pick a survivor from the remaining four candidates, which means a total of five make it into The Academy phase.

The first two-hour show goes out on June 20 when the successful students move into the Academy at a secret hideaway somewhere in Johannesburg, where they will be subjected to 10-weeks of extensive master classes from a top-rate teaching team.

From this point onwards, the show will be covered 24/7 on a designated channel on DStv (channel 37). In addition to this, M-Net will screen a daily highlights show. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the broadcast is at 20h00 and on Thursdays it's at 18h30. The special live Gala Show goes out on Sundays from 17h00 to 19h00.

The Academy is a residential establishment run by a principal and six teachers. It features performance rooms, a dance studio, a recording studio, a communal living space and dormitories for the students.




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