Fremantle to produce NZ 'X Factor'

TV3 to broadcast Australian, U.S. versions of show

SYDNEY -- FremantleMedia Australia will make a New Zealand version of “The X Factor” for free to air channel TV3, in a co-production with TV3 owner Mediaworks, the partners said Monday.

TV3 has also secured the exclusive broadcast rights of the Australian and U.S. versions of the program from FremantleMedia Enterprises. 

New Zealand production of what will be a marquee program for the commercial broadcaster will begin in Auckland later this year for a 2011 broadcast.

“Programs like ‘The X Factor’ don’t come along every day. It is a global super hit and the chance to bring it to New Zealand is one that excites us and Sony Music very much,” said Ian Hogg CEO FremantleMedia Australia. 

Jon Penn, CEO Asia Pacific FME, said the company was planning major licensing tie-ins with the show.  

“We are very much looking forward to working with TV3 to make 'The X Factor' property a huge success in New Zealand. Paul Ridley, our EVP of regional TV distribution has done a great job to include international versions of the show into the deal and we aim to further capitalize on the anticipated success of 'The X Factor New Zealand' to launch a range of brand licensing extensions across consumer products, promotional licensing, mobile and online platforms." 

TV3 director of programming Kelly Martin told NZ media that "As soon as we heard about the American version we got on to it. TV3 has never done or had a reality show before that is quite to the level this will be."

Judges and hosts for the New Zealand  version have not yet been finalized.

"The X Factor Australia" is currently in production and will air on the Seven Network later this year with judges including former "Australian Idol" judge Kyle Sandilands, Irish singer Ronan Keating, Australian singer and actress, Natalie Imbruglia, and the first "Australian Idol" winner, Guy Sebastian. 

TV3 aims at the 18 – 49 demographic with programs such as “Project Runway,” “Grand Designs,” “New Zealand’s Next Top Model” and the “CSI” and “Law and Order” franchises.