NBCU Strikes First European Deal for ‘Hidden Singer’ With Discovery for Italy

Nick Vivarelli

ROME – NBCUniversal International Formats announced its first European deal for talent format “Hidden Singer,” which will air on Discovery Italia’s channel Nove next year. The format, which originated in South Korea, will be adapted by Italian company Ballandi Multimedia.

“Hidden Singer” involves hit songs by local pop idols being performed by contestants who are unseen by the live studio audience. It will start airing in the spring of 2017 on Nove, until recently called Deejay TV. Discovery is re-branding the channel and ramping it up with promising programming.

Ballandi Multimedia is known in Italy for producing longstanding local talent show “Ti lascio una canzone.”

Since it acquired four free-to-air Italian channels in 2013, Discovery has become Italy’s third-largest TV player and is gradually shaking up Italy’s generalist TV landscape.

“Italy’s channel Nove acts as the perfect destination for our first European remake,” said Hannah Worrall, VP, Format Sales for NBCUniversal International Formats, in a statement.

“We hope that this new twist on the popular musical talent show will attract the attention of networks internationally,” she added.

Aldo Romersa, Senior Programming Director at channel Nove, noted that “Hidden Singer” marks a first for Discovery in the music talent show milieu. “We are honored to have important Italian artists in six prime-time TV events on channel Nove,” he said.

The statement did not specify who the Italian pop singers will be.

The first European commission for “Hidden Singer” follows the format’s success across Asia. The show originally aired on Korea’s JTBC, proving popular for four seasons, with audiences peaking at 9.13 million, according to NBCUniversal.

“Hidden Singer” is also one of the top five entertainment shows in Thailand and has turned out to be a ratings winner in Vietnam, NBCUniversal said.

Related stories

Disney Changes 'Moana' Title in Italy, Where It Has Porn Star Connotations

First Netflix Italian Original Series 'Suburra' Starts Shooting in Rome

NBC Universal Vet Jeff Gaspin Named President at Primary Wave Entertainment

Get more from Variety and Variety411: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter