TV2 Loses American Idol to Prime

Hopes of the next season of American Idol being the first to screen here in HD have been dashed by Prime’s latest programming coup.

The Sky-owned free-to-air channel today announced it had acquired the rights to the 12th season, which will include Kiwi Keith Urban among the judges.

Prime isn’t commenting on how close to the US it will air Idol but expect an acquisition this major to screen hot off the satellite.

It will anchor a new-look, beefed-up schedule for Prime that will include US hits like Elementary courtesy of its first output deal with a Hollywood heavyweight, CBS Studios International.

“Our schedule has gone from strength to strength and the addition of American Idol adds a further dimension to our programming line-up, offering a great series with strong family values for audiences of all ages,” Prime channel manager Kathy Wright said in a statement.

American Idol will premiere on Prime in January but not in HD because Sky executives argue the cost of converting the channel from SD isn’t justified by its ad revenue.

With the loss of Idol, expect The Voice to take centrestage at TV2 — which should lead to new episodes screening here quicker than previously (the network’s Friday night episodes aired six months ago in the US).

In the US, The Voice has gained so much momentum in its third season that NBC has renewed it for two more “cycles” in 2013.

TV2 also has rights to The Voice Australia and may retain Australian Idol, as the rights to this series weren’t included in Prime’s Fremantle deal.

Here’s Prime’s press release:


Prime Television has acquired the New Zealand broadcast rights to American Idol from FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME). Prime will debut season 12 of the long-running and incredibly popular series early next year.  

American Idol has been the number one entertainment programme in the USA for the past nine consecutive seasons, with a peak audience of 21.9 million viewers. The series has become a global phenomenon, having reached audiences in over 190 countries worldwide.

American Idol aims to discover new solo recording artists based on public votes.  Auditions for the coming season have been underway for the past five months as thousands of hopefuls clamour for their chance to join previous winners and now household names Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips. American Idol is produced by 19 Entertainment, a division of Core Media Group, and FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

“Prime is delighted to have secured a title of the calibre of American Idol, one of the most successful shows in the history of American television.  We are thrilled to be working in partnership with FremantleMedia Enterprises to showcase the series for New Zealand audiences from next January,” said Acquisitions Manager Lisa Clements.

“Our schedule has gone from strength to strength and the addition of American Idol adds a further dimension to our programming line-up, offering a great series with strong family values for audiences of all ages,” added Prime Channel Manager Kathy Wright. 

American Idol is one of the biggest and most established entertainment brands in the world. With a new generation of superstar judges joining Randy Jackson on the panel, this season has real potential to be a top ratings winner and hit show for Prime Television,” commented Paul Ridley, FME’s EVP of International Distribution & Home Entertainment, Asia Pacific.

When American Idol’s 12th season debuts on Prime in January 2013, superstar judge Mariah Carey – the best-selling female recording artist of all time – and returning judge Randy Jackson, a Grammy Award-winning producer whose expertise and beloved persona have been instrumental in discovering Idol talent from the beginning, will be joined by two new judges: quadruple-platinum singer, songwriter, rapper and fashion icon Nicki Minaj and New Zealander Keith Urban, a four-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 15 million albums.

Each season premieres with audition rounds taking place in cities across America, where the successful contestants received a golden ticket to proceed to the next round in Las Vegas.  Based on their performance the judges will then select semi-finalists and from then on each contestant performs their songs live which are voted on by the viewing public, with the outcome revealed in the results show the following night.

Screening details for American Idol season 12 will be released soon.

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2 Responses to “TV2 Loses American Idol to Prime”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    November 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    How much would it cost to change Prime into HD? I don’t mind putting some money towards it 🙂

  2. Bummer. No HD or 5.1 sound. Sky being it’s usual bastard self again over HD on Prime..

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