Three-Time Grammy® Winner Jon Secada Brings Worldwide "Idols" Phenomenon to Latin America

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Three-time Grammy® winner Jon Secada has been inked to join the “Idols” franchise as a celebrity judge when the show goes pan-regional in Latin America for the first time in history with the launch of “Latin American Idol” in Summer 2006, on Sony Entertainment Television.

Three-time Grammy® winner Jon Secada has been inked to join the “Idols” franchise as a celebrity judge when the show goes pan-regional in Latin America for the first time in history with the launch of “Latin American Idol” in Summer 2006, on Sony Entertainment Television.

Jon Secada, an international superstar who has sold over 20 million records worldwide, written and produced his own hits as well as those for such artists as Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, is currently on tour promoting his first new CD in three years, “Same Dream” (Big 3 Records), which already features the Top 10 single “Window To My Heart.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of the ‘Latin American Idol’ family,” says Secada. “The fact that this is the first time the show will incorporate contestants from various countries in Latin America is exciting. Encouraging and discovering young talent has always been one of the joys of my career as a singer, songwriter and producer.”

A major force in the Latin community for education and inspiring young talent, Secada was chosen by President Bush to be a part of his Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A University of Miami graduate and former college professor, Secada has also been instrumental in raising funds in Washington D.C. for the NARAS / Grammy® national effort “Keeping Music In Schools” and, he recently joined the Sallie Mae Fund’s “Paying for College” campaign in Los Angeles to educate Latin American students about options to finance their college education.

The last year has been a busy one for the Grammy® winner. In addition to his new CD and Top 10 single, Secada has returned to his homeland of Cuba for the first time in 35 years to perform for more than 4000 troops at Guantanamo Bay; had a Top 10 holiday hit with his remake of “Feliz Navidad”; and, kicked off his first solo U.S. Tour in 10 years with stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and New York City.

Sony Pictures Television International’s (SPTI) Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has partnered with FremantleMedia to bring a local version of the worldwide phenomenon to Latin America. SET Latin America is one of the leading entertainment channels in Latin America, running some of the top-rated US shows including CSI, Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace as well as American Idol (the US version). Since bringing American Idol to the Latin viewing audience three years ago, Sony has remained committed to the series. Now, viewers will have the added benefit of a local production while continuing to receive the top-rated US version.”

The international Idols format was conceived in the United Kingdom by Simon Fuller’s company 19TV and leading global production company, FremantleMedia. The format premiered on the UK’s ITV in 2001 as Pop Idol. Produced by Thames and 19TV, the show was a massive ratings success and an award winner. FremantleMedia has since rolled the series out to 30 countries to date, where is has become a mass movement.

In the US alone, the show has grown every season since its debut in 2002, with American Idol 4 ranking as the highest-rated Idol season to date.

About FremantleMedia

FremantleMedia is one of the largest international creators and producers of programme brands in the world, with leading prime time drama, serial drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming in over 40 territories. International drama programmes include Germany’s top-rated serial drama, Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten (Good Times Bad Times), the UK’s most successful police drama, The Bill, and Australia’s top soap, Neighbours. The company’s entertainment and factual entertainment hits range from the award winning international format, Idols, broadcast as the prime time show, American Idol, on FOX in the US, to the grime-busting format, How Clean is Your House? and factual entertainment series starring celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Kitchen, as well as long-running game shows like The Price Is Right. The company’s licensing operation, FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide, exploits FremantleMedia’s many strong brands across multiple off-screen platforms including merchandising, interactive and wireless, home entertainment and music publishing. Fremantle International Distribution, the company’s international distribution division, licenses over 19,000 hours of programming to 150 countries worldwide including the outrageous antics of Mr Bean: The Animated Series, moving drama, The Return, starring Julie Walters, landmark documentary, The World at War and the hugely popular special, Britney Spears: In the Zone.

FremantleMedia is the production business of the RTL Group, Europe's largest television and radio broadcast company.

About Sony Entertainment Television (SET) Latin America

Sony Entertainment Television (SET), the leading 24-hour general entertainment network in Latin America, is part of Sony Pictures Television International's (SPTI) diverse portfolio of approximately 40 global networks. SPTI is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Distributed by HBO Latin America GroupSM, SET delivers the best U.S. programs in their original language only weeks after their U.S. debut. SET can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.canalsony.com.

About Sony Pictures Television International

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) operates three complementary lines of business: 1) distribution of Sony Pictures Entertainment's feature films and television programming to television outlets around the world, 2) local television production in key international markets, and 3) international television networks. In addition to being a leader in the distribution of current and classic U.S. and international films and television product worldwide, SPTI produces high profile, locally produced television in local languages. With dedicated offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Miami (Latin America), Spain and the United Kingdom, SPTI currently oversees production in seven regions. SPTI's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in the Company's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with over 35 networks in more than 100 countries reaching over 240 million viewers worldwide. SPTI is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.

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