NEW YORK – "Top of the Pops," the long-running British music program famous for performances by artists from The Beatles to Nirvana, is making another attempt to cross the Atlantic.
Boy-band hitmaker Lou Pearlman told The Associated Press Monday that he and the BBC have nearly completed a deal to jointly produce an American version of "Top of the Pops."
The legendary TV show that features a countdown of the week's most popular songs with performances by top artists has been a staple in the United Kingdom for over 40 years. Though it has struggled in recent years, it has also spread to dozens of countries around the world.
The American version will be based on the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard charts. Pearlman said he expects to soon discuss distribution with the networks, and hopes to see the show airing by the second quarter of this year.
"The show will be just like it is all around the world," said Pearlman, a music producer who launched the careers of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. "Except our thing will be each week having an up-and-coming artist that will be debuted on the show."
"Top of the Pops" tried to make it in the U.S. in 1987 with Nia Peeples as host, but was canceled after one season. In 2002, the cable network BBC America also briefly broadcast the British show.
Pearlman envisions some synergy between the American and British "Pops," suggesting that an Eminem performance could be taped here and also air in Europe, while Elton John singing in London could likewise be aired on the American show.
Calls to the BBC were not immediately returned Monday.
This time around, "Top of the Pops" comes at a time when Fox's "American Idol" rules TV's music scene. The talent contest last week debuted its fifth season with ratings estimated at 35.5 million.
"After (aspiring artists) are on 'American Idol,' what show do you appear on?" Pearlman said. "This is the next level of `American Idol.'"