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PROJECT FAME! (article first published : 2004-04-5)

M-Net has announced that it is to produce and broadcast a new local version of a major international format in the reality TV genre.

Carl Fischer, M-Net Director of Local Productions, said African audiences could look forward to a highly entertaining reality show in the form of Project Fame. “We’ve chosen from the best international formats on offer to create world class local content for our subscribers and Open Time viewers, building on the solid foundations of past successful and popular shows.”

Aspiring musicians/singers from all over Africa can prepare themselves for the biggest and most comprehensive search for a talented individual this continent has ever seen. Project Fame can be described as a marriage between voyeuristic Big Brother and musical phenomenon Idols, plus a thrilling dose of Survivor-style voting, the new Project Fame will have audiences glued to their screens.

Project Fame is a reality television show in which 26 chosen competitors will have the opportunity to perform their way to stardom over a 13-week period. A search for contestants will be done in 11 African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria.

Contestants must be 18 years or older and will be chosen for musical aptitude. Applicants must be able to sing and either play a musical instrument or have an additional musical or performance skill (from dancing to song writing) that they can offer the Project.

The 16 final contestants will, for 10 weeks, live and be filmed 24/7 in a musical academy. They will be given expert training in every aspect of the music business - from performance and songwriting to behind-the-scenes preparation and a personal advisor. More than just a talent competition, Project Fame allows viewers a unique opportunity to follow, day by day, the behind the scenes progress of 16 young hopefuls as they are groomed for success in a tough performance academy.

The audience will decide which contestant should leave the academy weekly and finally vote for the winner of Project Fame. The winner will walk away with a recording contract, loads of exciting prizes and the ultimate prize for any superstar – fame.

The show will be produced by Endemol South Africa and is based on an international format that originated in Spain as Operación Triunfo and has been successfully produced in nine countries so far, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Greece, Italy Russia and the United Kingdom. In Spain a staggering six million albums amongst the 16 contestants were sold and at one point seven entries in the Spanish Top 10 were from the show’s students. The British version, Fame Academy, entertained more than eight million UK television viewers and attracted seven million votes in the final show.

Endemol executive producer, Marie Rosholt, who also produced the hugely popular Big Brother-series for M-Net, is confident that Project Fame will be equally successful across the continent. “We believe there is a wealth of untapped musical talent on the continent and this show is the ticket to the spotlight. Project Fame is about finding a star with international appeal who has the potential to become a celebrity on the world stage. We are looking for star quality, real musical aptitude and raw talent that can be groomed into stardom. We know there are stars in Africa, and we will find them.”

Project Fame is proudly sponsored by MTN.

Pre-production on the show has already started in all earnest and a call for entry campaign is expected shortly. Prospective contestants for Project Fame can visit www.mnet.co.za for updates.




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