Sunday, September 23, 2012

Star Academy is coming back!

I've been thinking about Star Academy quite a lot recently.  Maybe it's because being in Nice in September 2003, 2005 and 2008 always meant switching on TF1 just after 6pm for the nightly update shows.  The format was done properly in France of course, and indeed in Spain (Operacion Triunfo) and translated very badly over here (Fame Academy) but for at least its first four years the French edition was the best reality-talent format ever, and even in subsequent years it gave us some excellent performers with genuine vocal talent. But all good things must come to an end, and by 2008, the show had finally reached its use-by date: they had moved from the chateau at Dammarie-les-Lys to a more modest hotel in Paris, ratings were plummeting and the winner Mickels Rea did not go on to achieve any commercial success, far less replicate the success of series 1 and 2 winners Jenifer and Nolwenn Leroy.

The world of the TV talent show has moved on of course. We are bombarded from all sides by Idol and X Factor and The Voice and ...Got Talent, with all the sob stories and overacting by judges and contestants alike. TF1 cancelled Star Academy and like many other countries it had moved on to The Voice, having already broadcast one series with Jenifer, Garou, Louis Bertignac and Florent Pagny as coaches. So it appeared that Star Academy would be consigned to reality-TV-talent history.

But hold that thought.....

...because Star Academy is on the way back to France's TV screens. Only this time it won't be broadcast by TF1, but rather a more minor channel, NRJ12. There will be daily update shows and a weekly 'Prime' as before, but I'd guess it's most unlikely that any of the old 'profs' will be there nor will Nikos Aliagas - he may have had his critics back in the day but you really couldn't imagine anyone else presenting the show. You'll have guessed that I have mixed feelings about it all.  Being broadcast by a digital/cable channel with a very small audience share and a lower budget is not the way for such an iconic show to make a comeback.  Nevertheless I'm looking forward to see how it will go.  There is no scheduled broadcast date as yet, but contestants are currently being sought:

If like me you were a massive fan of the original Star Academy, 2001-2008, I'd like to hear your views about the show coming back.  Is the time right for a comeback?  Or is it doomed to failure? Your comments are welcome!

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