‘Got Talent’ TV show comes to Afghanistan

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10:42 PM July 8th, 2013

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July 8th, 2013 10:42 PM

Simon Cowell AP FILE PHOTO

KABUL — “Afghanistan’s Got Talent” is coming to television screens in the war-torn country after the internationally-popular reality show struck a deal with a national channel based in Kabul.

Local versions of Western entertainment programs such as “American Idol” and “The Voice” have been big hits in conservative Afghanistan since the fall of the 1996-2001 Taliban regime that banned music and cinema.

“It is a new show that has been successful in other countries around the world,” Fahim Hashimy, president of the 1TV channel, told AFP on Monday.

“It will provide opportunities for Afghans to showcase their talents, and we need such programs to bring talented Afghans on screen.”

“Afghan Star” — the local adaptation of “American Idol” — is one of the most popular shows on television, drawing massive family audiences to eight prime-time seasons since 2005.

“Afghanistan’s Got Talent,” a local franchise of the show created by British pop producer Simon Cowell, will be screened on 1TV from October, with a winning member of the public crowned in November.

“It will be exciting to see the Afghans’ creativity through the auditions and beyond,” Hashimy said, adding the “Got Talent” format has been adapted 55 times and sold to 180 countries.

Audition details and the names of the host and judges of the show have yet to be revealed.

The Taliban have been fighting an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Afghanistan for more than a decade.

Previous winners of the British version of the show have included a dog trick act, a shadow theater group, a gymnastic troupe and street dancers, as well as singers.

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