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'The Voice' sparks BBC, ITV bidding war

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Christina Aguilera in The Voice

© NBC Universal

The BBC and ITV are in a bidding war for the rights to hit music talent show The Voice, say reports.

The Voice has proved a ratings success in the US, where Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green are among the judges. In a twist from music reality shows such as The X Factor and American Idol, the judging panel are not allowed to see the acts when they first sing, meaning that they judge on their vocal abilities alone.

BBC One controller Danny Cohen is leading negotiations with Shed Media to bring the format to the UK. Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue, Robbie Williams and George Michael have all been touted as potential judges.

However, according to The Guardian, ITV director of television Peter Fincham is also pursuing a possible deal to land the programme, which is shown on NBC in the US. Fincham apparently views the programme as "a backup" if The X Factor without Simon Cowell starts to lose viewers.

ITV may have a stronger hand in negotiations because the BBC is unable to run premium phone votes, use product placement, allow instantly downloadable songs or offer huge money deals to the judges.

The Voice was created by Big Brother mastermind John De Mol and was originally shown in Holland.

Channel 4 has ruled itself out of the bidding war, with an insider at the broadcaster describing the format of the show as "derivative" and "a ripoff".

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