Britain's Channel 5 Nabs 'American Idol' Rights for Digital Network 5*

The channel will air the U.S. hit show under a two-year deal as it continues to target younger audiences.


LONDON - Britain's Channel 5 has acquired the U.K. TV rights to the next two seasons of U.S. hit show American Idol, which has previously aired here on ITV2.

Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed. The agreement was reached with FremantleMedia, which co-produces the show with Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment, part of Core Media, formerly known as CKX.

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Channel 5, owned by British media entrepreneur and businessman Richard Desmond, will air the music competition on its digital network 5*, starting with next year's 12th season. It will premiere here the same week in January during which Fox is scheduled to bring the show back in the U.S.

"American Idol is immense," said Channel 5's head of acquisitions, Katie Keenan. "We believe it's going to be a defining show for 5* building on an already impressive schedule."

ITV2 drew around 350,000 U.K. viewers with the launch of this year's American Idol at the start of the year.

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American Idol's modified judging panel for next season includes Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Keith Urban.

5* targets younger viewers with acquired and original programming. Its lineup of U.S. shows includes the likes of Burn Notice, Melrose Place, Californication and Sex and the City.

5* has also acquired from Fremantle comedy drama Wedding Band, starring Brian Austin Green, about a group of friends who perform at weddings.

Desmond runs Northern & Shell, which also publishes such celebrity magazines as OK! and New!, as well as British newspapers Daily Star and Daily Express.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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