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NBC Takes a Chance on a New ‘Idol’

February 10, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ With Fox’s ``American Idol″ showing no sign of going flat, NBC announced it’s planning a singing competition based on a 50-year-old European show that helped launch the careers of Celine Dion and ABBA.

The U.S. version of ``Eurovision Song Contest″ will combine broadcast and online elements, NBC said Friday. As with ``American Idol,″ which itself was patterned on the hit British series ``Pop Idol,″ the winner will receive a recording contract.

``‘Eurovision’ is the granddaddy of all talent shows and the Super Bowl of singing,″ Ben Silverman, chairman of series producer Reveille, said in a statement.

As described by the network, the show will include an online competition to find singers from each state, with the winners advancing to the broadcast series to vie for the title. Voting will be in the hands of viewers.

Further details on the series, which will feature amateurs and professionals and solo act or group acts, are in development, NBC said.

``American Idol,″ which this week bested the Grammy Awards in head-to-head ratings competition, showcases nonprofessionals.

In 1974, ABBA won the ``Eurovision″ contest for Sweden with ``Waterloo.″ Dion won for Switzerland in 1988 and Olivia Newton-John competed for the United Kingdom in 1974. In 1958, an Italian singer performed the show’s most widely recorded song, ``Volare,″ NBC said.

No air date for the NBC series was announced.

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