LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2008) — Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will create an “American Idol” attraction that will bring the television and pop culture phenomenon to life at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, it was jointly announced today by Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts; Simon Fuller, CEO of 19 Entertainment; and Keith Hindle, executive vice president of FremantleMedia Licensing.
The attraction, slated to debut in late 2008, will be located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park and will follow the model of the high-energy show. Disney guests will be able to experience the challenge of auditioning, the rush of performing on stage in competition, or the thrill of judging the performances in a live interactive entertainment setting with all the glitz and glamour of the distinctive “American Idol” set.
That experience will include an audition process, open to all who register, where guests perform “live” in front of a Disney’s Hollywood Studios producer to be cast in a theme park show. After backstage preparation — working with a vocal coach, hair and make-up — it’s lights up and showtime in front of a “live” audience and a panel of judges.
Guest performers with the highest votes will compete in an end-of-day Grand Finale show at Walt Disney World, and the winner of the Grand Finale show will receive a guaranteed reservation for a future regional stadium audition — to ensure no waiting in long lines. But when it comes down to the television show auditions, everyone is treated equal.
“Millions of people have imagined themselves standing on the ‘American Idol’ stage,” said Rasulo. “We’re excited that we will be bringing this dream to life every day at Walt Disney World.”
Added Fuller, “One of the most remarkable elements about ‘American Idol’ is that for a brief moment each week, we can provide TV viewers the opportunity to imagine life as America’s next superstar. Disney’s new attraction perfectly captures what we at ‘American Idol’ feel is the heart and soul of this brand, real people getting a shot to make their dream a reality.”
“This partnership,” noted Hindle, “brings the number one show on television, watched in over 100 countries, to the number one theme park destination in the world. It’s a perfect combination and opportunity to offer everyone a taste of the ‘American Idol’ experience.”
The coming “American Idol” attraction will reflect the best and brightest of the TV show, giving starry-eyed park guests a chance to become a star on the attraction’s stage. It joins an all-star lineup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a celebration of today’s Hollywood in movies, television, music and theater. Among the new adventures debuting in 2008 is the just-opened “Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!” plus coming attractions “Block Party Bash,” an interactive and moving Disney-Pixar spectacle filling the theme park streets; and Toy Story Mania! immersing guests in a 3-D interactive ride-through video game starring popular Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” characters.
About 19 Entertainment
Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment (of CKX, Inc., a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ National Market® under the ticker symbol “CKXE”) is recognized as a leading creator, provider and promoter of globally successful music-based entertainment, or “entertainment brands.” The company has attracted a unique collection of expertise in people who work together to integrate and leverage activity across television, film, touring, merchandising, music publishing, recording, artist / writer and producer management, sponsorship and promotion. Simon Fuller is the most successful British music manager of all time having sold over 116 million CDs in North America alone, and is known as the creator of “American Idol,” the most valuable TV format in the world with an estimated value in excess of $2.5 billion. For further information, visit www.americanidol.com.
About FremantleMedia Enterprises & FremantleMedia
FremantleMedia Enterprises is the content exploitation arm of FremantleMedia, offering a one-stop-shop for all Licensing, Distribution and Home Entertainment. It is a division of FremantleMedia, one of the largest international creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world with leading prime time drama, serial drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming in over 40 countries worldwide. FremantleMedia is a subsidiary of RTL Group, Europe’s largest television and radio broadcast company, which is 90% owned by Bertelsmann AG, an integrated media and entertainment company that commands leading positions in the world’s media markets. For further information, visit www.fremantlemedia.com.
About FremantleMedia North America
FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is the U.S. production division of global media giant FremantleMedia. Based in Burbank, California, FMNA produces entertaining and innovative television programs for network, cable and syndicated platforms, including the Emmy-nominated musical/reality phenomenon “American Idol” (FOX), “The Next Great American Band” (FOX), “America’s Got Talent” (NBC), “American Inventor” (ABC), “Thank God You’re Here” (NBC), “The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency” (Oxygen), “Property Ladder” (TLC), “Family Feud” (syndicated), “Temptation” (syndicated), “Million Dollar Password” (CBS), and the longest-running game show in television history, “The Price Is Right” (CBS).
About Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are where dreams come true. Disney features a collection of five of the world’s leading family vacation destinations. In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts includes the world-class Disney Cruise Line; the Disney Vacation Club; Adventures by Disney, a guided group vacation experience to some of the world’s most popular destinations; the ESPN Zone dining and entertainment centers; the World of Disney stores; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates and designs all Disney parks, resorts and attractions.