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'Pop Idol' Producer Wants To Create New 'Monkees' For TV

The British producer behind the hit TV show Pop Idol, which has become a hit in the U.S. as American Idol, now wants to launch a new Monkees group for television.

Simon Fuller, who created the U.K. series and serves as executive producer on Fox’s TV talent show, has been talking to NBC, which aired the original series of The Monkees in the ’60s.

Fuller, who was the first manager of the Spice Girls and also masterminded the British pop group S Club 7, has now bought the rights to the Monkees concept and name.

Fuller’s updated show would feature a new, handpicked, all-male American group engaged in music and comedy, just like original Monkees-Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork-who were TV’s first “boy band,” Variety reported. The new show is tentatively slated for the fall 2003 TV season.

The program wouldn’t be the first attempt a recreating the ’60s phenomenon. A New Monkees show was attempted in the ’80s with four new actors/musicians, but it failed and also resulted in an album that didn’t sell.

Last year, the original Monkees were reportedly working on new versions of the group’s biggest hits with Lou Pearlman, the impresario behind teen-pop favorites the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Making The Band TV creation O-Town. No recordings have surfaced to date.

Incidentally, decorated Simpsons veterans Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley have also signed onto the new Monkees project; Oakley tells Variety he has been studying all things Monkees as research. The pair are hoping to keep the feel of the original show, while updating it, steeping it with pop culture references and the like, and “possibly” using new technology to enhance the show.

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