SM Entertainment Unveils ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Partnership on New TV Format

SM Entertainment, the K-pop titan that’s home to NCT 127, Red Velvet, aespa and others, is throwing its clout behind a new TV format, a collaborative venture that unlocks the Korean company’s passage into the European market.

Unveiled this week, SM Entertainment partners with the team at the newly-launched Moon&Back Media, for a “unique” talent show, for which its producers will find the next superstar boyband, and present it to TV audiences around the globe.

Filming over six months, the cameras will follow the journey of an emerging band as they depart London in early 2024 “on the adventure of a lifetime,” with the story unfolding in the U.K. and South Korea.

According to a statement, pre-production for the series has kicked off, and discussions are ongoing with major broadcasters, record labels and music publishers.

Both parties characterize the collaboration as a “first-of-its-kind” alliance between Korea and the U.K.

“This collaboration signifies our first footprint in Europe,” comments Joseph Chang, CEO of SM & Kakao Entertainment America, in a statement. “Our expansion blueprint will continue to span across North and South America, Europe, and other pivotal markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s vast artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies ahead.”

Chang adds, ”we are thrilled to partner with power players who were critical in the creation and success of One Direction, and together we are aiming to find that next global sensation.”

Moon&Back was founded by multi-BAFTA-winning producer Nigel Hall (Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, One Direction), broadcast leader Dawn Airey (C4, C5, ITV, Sky, Getty Images), and talent manager Russ Lindsay (Ant & Dec, Simon Cowell). Asylum Group invested in Moon&Back earlier in 2023.

“This is a global first,” notes Airey, “creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigours of the premier K-pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”

SM Entertainment, which also guides the careers of SuperM and RIIZE, has ramped up activities in America with several major plays. In March, SM announced that it wanted to acquire a U.S.-based company to expand into hip-hop or R&B, and in August, a so-called “local integrated corporation” in North America formed by the amalgamation of  Kakao Entertainment America and SM Entertainment USA, which would be “completed quickly within this year.”

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