Amazon Unveils K-Pop Drama 'The Idolm@ster' as First South Korean Original

Amazon Studios Santa Monica

Set to launch in 2017 on Amazon Prime Video, the drama revamps the popular Japanese video game of the same name.

As Netflix launches one original production after another in South Korea, Amazon has unveiled its debut series in the Asian country. And it comes as no surprise that the drama series called The Idolm@ster.kr looks to capitalize on the popularity of the booming K-pop industry.

Set to debut in 2017, the live-action series fuses two of South Korea's hottest exports, K-pop and TV dramas. It merges fiction with reality as it features a group of aspiring female K-pop singers as themselves in a scripted drama about the struggles of launching a music career.

The show is the live-action answer to The Idolm@ster, a popular Japanese game franchise by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Since launching in 2005 as an arcade game, The Idolm@ster has since been adapted for video and smartphone platforms. It also inspired animation and manga versions, as well as live concerts and hit singles. For the upcoming Korean-language series, Amazon is collaborating with Bandai Namco Entertainment and Interactive Media Mix (IMX), a Tokyo-based distributor of Korean TV dramas.

"The Idolm@ster.kr is the perfect combination of Japanese idol culture and Korean drama power," said James Farrell, head of content at Amazon's Asia Pacific Prime Video. "The idols include K-Pop sirens, as well as Japanese and other international singers, and we're confident that The Idolm@ster fans and viewers alike all over the world will become addicted to watching their careers bloom."

"This project fuses the fantastic Japanese intellectual property The Idolm@ster with Korean drama and K-Pop that is enjoyed around the world,” said Sohn Il-Hyung, representative director of IMX. "With Amazon distributing, the show can be seen by a global audience. I'm really delighted to work on this project that fulfills our dreams. What makes the project unique is that, rather than have actresses play the idols, girls who want to become idols play themselves in this mix of reality and fiction."

The series will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video beginning in early 2017 and will be localized into several languages, including Japanese and English.

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