American Idol coming to Disney Worldby Leah Zanolla
Feb 8, 2008
Disney's Hollywood Studios is partnering with Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment and FreMantleMedia in opening the 'American Idol' attraction.
Slated to debut in late 2008, this attraction will host daily auditions/competitions for park guests who register. At the end of the day, a Grand Finale performance will take place with that day's winners participating. The 'Idol' chosen as the day's best gets a spot at the front of the line at a regional Idol competition. While there's no guarantee that they will be chosen to audition in front of Idol's judges, they will bypass the long waits.
When asked about Idol's affiliation with Fox broadcasting as opposed to Disney's ABC network, Keith Hindle, FremantleMedia's licensing vice president stated "It is owned by us, so we can extend the brand in the off-air space in the ways that we want to. We don't see this in any way as a NewsCorp. vs. Disney debate. That's never been part of the discussion, and it's not something that's relevant to us. It's just part of 'American Idol.'"
The Disney competition will be open for guests age 14 and up. Since American Idol is limited to participants in the 16 to 28 year age group, the winner of Disney's contest can transfer their pass to a friend or family member or, in the case of those under age 16, save it for a future Idol competition. The pass cannot be sold.
Throughout the year, actual Idol stars may be scheduled to perform at WDW and themed merchandise will be for sale. Hindle said "It's a very collaborative process. Disney knows more about live stage productions that we ever will. We know more about our TV show that Disney ever will. Exactly how this will manifest it is something that will be mutually approved by all parties. We're looking to Disney to see how their guests like to be entertained."
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