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Reality TV still finding its voice, says top producer

CONTRARY to some opinions, it seems we have not had our fill of reality television.

Leading producer Larry Bass has denied appetites are waning for reality shows as the latest in an apparently never-ending stream of talent contests prepares to hit our screens.

Mr Bass, head of independent production company ShinAwil, insisted 'The Voice of Ireland' is the "next generation" of the shows because it offers a new twist on the old format.

"It is no longer a travelling circus, a freak show," Mr Bass said.

The show, based on a Dutch format, is designed so the coach sits with their back to the contestant during the five 'blind audition' shows.

The idea is a singer is selected by a coach solely based on their performing skills and not their appearance.

'The Voice of Ireland' begins a 17-week run on RTE One tomorrow evening.

More than 1,800 people submitted an online audition with audio of them singing.

These were then whittled down to 150 who competed in front of the four 'coaches' -- singers Kian Egan, Sharon Corr, Bressie and Brian Kennedy.

Each of the four coaches can select 12 or more acts initially but these will eventually be reduced to six each for the live competition.

Among the unknown candidates auditioning on tomorrow night's programme will be two relatively well-known faces: singer/songwriter Tara Blaise has already released two albums while Onya Gray was a contestant in 'You're A Star'.

Lynda McQuaid, series producer, said they auditioned 900 without cameras to select 150 for the 'blind auditions'.

David Harris, head of marketing for Universal Music Ireland, said the value of the prize was not confirmed but the winner would make an album.

The music label will also have the option of signing other contestants who catch their eye during the show.

RTE commissioning editor Bill Malone said they were expecting a big audience that would "journey" with the contestants as it was a prime-time slot.

The cost of making the expensive large-scale programme, which will air on Sunday nights on RTE One, was not revealed.

Irish Independent