Fledgling UK-based prodco Archie Productions has scored a plum commission from Turner EMEA to produce six versions of 13 x half-hour kids-talent format Staraoke.
Turner intends to roll Staraoke out simultaneously across its channels, including Cartoon Network, in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Poland. Based on a Finnish format from prodco Intervisio, the show pits two teams of kids against each other in a head-to-head karaoke battle. Points are earned through the kids’ abilities to keep tune with the song, while voice recognition software tallies the score. Additionally, contestants’ warbling will be charted on a giant plasma screen, as each singer’s avatar – chosen from Turner’s portfolio of characters like Ben 10, Scooby-Doo and Bloo – tries to stay on course.
As the first major commission for Archie Productions, creative director John Marley says the production is aiming to achieve the high-gloss look-and-feel of similar primetime formats that kids have become so accustomed to watching with their parents like American Idol or The X-Factor. What is different, he notes, is Staraoke‘s focus on featuring real kids and giving Turner kids’ channel viewers something in which they’ll aspire to take part.
For his part, SVP/GM of original series & international development at Turner Broadcasting Systems International Finn Arnesen says, ‘One of our remits was to follow the success we had with the live-action-animated game show Skatoony and keep putting kids on-screen in a game show format.’ He adds, ‘With Staraoke we are tapping into the popularity of karaoke and the enjoyment kids get from singing and performing. And the simultaneous launch across our main European territories allows us to manage the franchise and maximize the show and its assets across all our platforms in EMEA.’ Furthermore, Arnesen says he’s looking to pick up more kids live-action formats in all genres. ‘We wanted to move forward and replicate Skatoony‘s success with Staraoke and other shows that put kids at the forefront.’
Archie is gearing up to head into production after KidScreen Summit in February. Interestingly, Marley says the whole project really got rolling at KidScreen Summit 2008. He had known about the format for some time, but was able to put a meeting together with all the format’s concerned parties and Arnesen at the event and that helped push it into development quickly. Right now Marley and his team are busily trying to coordinate the arrival of six groups of kid contestants slated to start pouring into London from all over Europe.