JTBC show sets a record as it moves to Chinese TV

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JTBC show sets a record as it moves to Chinese TV

JTBC set a new record yesterday by becoming the cable network in Korea to sell licensing rights to an original program in the shortest amount of time since the network’s establishment.

The network signed a deal with a media production agency based in China to sell the rights to the singing competition “Hidden Singer” in that market.

The show has quite a following in Korea with its novel approach of pitting celebrities against impostors while a judging panel and audience members listen as the singers perform a few verses while hidden behind curtains.

The Saturday night show was created by Cho Seung-wook, a JTBC program director who has spent more than a decade working on variety shows.

Singers such as Lee Moon-sae, Kim Jong-seo and Jang Yoon-jung have taken part in the show since it hit airwaves in December.

The contract with the Chinese agency will run for two years and has confirmed rumors about potential expansion overseas. In an interview last month, Cho said there were a few overseas buyers interested in the show.

At home, too, the program had tongues wagging, especially the Lee Moon-sae episode on Sunday that attracted 4.4 percent of viewers in the time slot, high for a cable.

Kim Sung-geun, president of the Chinese licensee, lauded the show for introducing a paradigm shift “from music you see to music you listen to.”

He added that a few Chinese networks were already interested in airing the show.

Back at home, JTBC has celebrated the licensing deal.

“This is a great leap forward for JTBC to become a prominent network in Asia,” said Kim Young-shin who oversees production for the channel.

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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