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NBC Imports Dutch TV Show to Take On ‘American Idol’

NBC will bring a new singing competition called “The Voice of America” to the U.S. next year to challenge Fox’s “American Idol,” the most-watched prime-time program on television.

The show is modeled after “The Voice of Holland,” which displaced “Idol” and “The X Factor” as the No. 1 Dutch talent competition, NBC said today in an e-mailed statement. The U.S. program will start in the first half of 2011.

“Voice of America” creates a new challenge for “Idol,” which is undergoing a makeover for its 10th season amid slipping ratings. Simon Cowell, an original judge on “Idol,” left to start a new talent show, “The X Factor,” which will also air on News Corp.’s Fox, starting in September 2011.

“This show truly focuses on amazing voices,” Paul Telegdy, executive vice president of alternative programming at NBC and Universal Media Studios, said in the statement. “As soon as we saw the Dutch format, we knew this was completely different and really exciting.”

The initial audition process for “Voice of America” will be blind and based on voice only, NBC said. Four celebrity artists will form their own teams of singers that will face off until each celebrity has only one competitor remaining. The contestants will perform live and be voted on by the TV audience as they compete for a recording contract, the network said.

De Mol, Burnett

The reality show is produced by John de Mol of “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor” and Mark Burnett, known for “Survivor.” It’s also produced by Warner Horizon Television, which makes “The Bachelor” and “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew.” Jackson is a judge on “Idol.”

De Mol is the creator of “The Voice of Holland.”

The NBC broadcast network is a unit of NBC Universal. General Electric Co. is selling a majority stake of NBC Universal to Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., the biggest U.S. cable company.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, lost 10 cents to $17.62 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Comcast gained 1 cent to $21.32 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. New York-based News Corp., controlled by Chairman Rupert Murdoch, fell 26 cents to $14.34.

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