Cable TV considers making a local version of the hit show American Idol Viewers will have the power to help turn a wannabe into a singing superstar if a television operator goes ahead with proposals to make a Hong Kong version of the hit reality show American Idol. Felix To, controller of programme development and production at i-Cable, which runs Cable TV, said the company is 'seriously considering' making a local version of the US show. In American Idol, 50,000 contestants from all over the United States are gradually eliminated by judges drawn from the music business. But it is the audience who decides the winner. 'We've been playing around with the idea of a Hong Kong version for over two years. But now we are seriously considering it. We are trying to figure out how to do it and the format. It all depends if we can make it look good and convincing,' Mr To said. American Idol and American Idol II were commercial hits in North America. Filmed in a documentary style, the shows focus on everything the contestants and judges do and say both on and off stage, from the preliminary rounds to the final contest. Reality TV had earlier been used to create stars in Britain, New Zealand and Australia, where the series Popstars led to the creation of girl band Bardot. 'Local TV has not seen that sort of magic and imagination for a long time,' Mr To said. 'It's different from other singing contests in the past because the focus is on the contestants and not on the judges, the master of ceremonies and on how grand the stage looks.' The broadcaster has bought the 22 episodes of American Idol and will be airing it every Saturday at 8.30pm, starting September 13. Mr To said the Hong Kong version would not be a spinoff. Rather than buying the rights to produce a local version, i-Cable has decided to draw upon certain ideas from the original and adapt them to Hong Kong tastes. One critical component is the personalities of the judges. As a talent show structured as an ongoing series, the show requires people who not only recognise what it takes to make it in the music business but who will also ensure that audiences keep coming back to hear their comments. In American Idol, 'Nasty Simon' Cowell, famous for his ruthless criticism of contestants, created tension as well as laughter. Although Mr To refused to name possible choices for judges for the local version, entertainment industry expert Clarence Hui-yuen had a few suggestions. The image consultant and talent manager's ideal team would consist of singer Anita Mui Yim-fong, lyricist and ex-DJ Wyman Wong and musical director and producer Anthony Lun Wing-leung. 'Wyman Wong has great fashion sense and is very critical, while Anita Mui is a superstar. And there is nobody who understands music better then Anthony Lun. Besides, they look great together,' he said. Despite the availability of judges, Hui does not believe a local version will take off, mainly because of what he sees as a shortage of candidates. 'There is a lack of performers here. That's why Miss Hong Kong and all the singing contests find it hard to get contestants of quality,' he said. 'It's easier to search for stars in the US. Many people in Hong Kong are tone-deaf because there is no basic music or performance art training here.' But Mr To believes Hong Kong is ready for a version of the show. 'The reality show concept will probably stay and there will be some element of audience interaction in the final version,' he said. 'I don't know if there will be live voting yet, but whatever we decide we have to make sure the audience feels they can make a difference and our efforts are not half-hearted.'