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Moon&Back seeks to create K-pop stars with SM Entertainment in first project

The launch of the SM Entetainment and Moon&Back boy band project

Newly launched Moon&Back, led by UK talent and TV veterans Nigel Hall, Dawn Airey and Russ Lindsay, is partnering with K-pop entertainment company SM Entertainment to find the next boy band sensation.

UK-based Moon&Back launched in September, bringing together ITV’s former head of light entertainment Hall, former Syco Entertainment MD Lindsay and ex-Channel 5 CEO Airey to focus on talent-driven entertainment formats.

For its first project, the company is pairing with South Korea’s K-pop expert SM Entertainment to create and debut a new UK boy band to TV audiences worldwide with an as-yet unnamed show.

SM is widely credited with being the company that created K-pop and launched more than a dozen globally successful pop groups, like NCT, aespa, SuperM, Red Velvet and RIIZE.

The series’ executive team includes music industry executive Ben Karter (The Script, Westlife, Taylor Swift), showrunner James McKinlay (X Factor, America’s Got Talent) and exec producer David Hall (Deal or No Deal, The Chase, The Greatest Dancer).

Shot over the course of six months, the series will follow a fledgling boy band as they depart London in early 2024 on the adventure of a lifetime. Pre-production for the series, which will be shot in the UK and South Korea, is underway, along with discussions with major broadcasters, record labels and music publishers.

Joseph Chang, CEO of SM and Kakao Entertainment America, said: “This collaboration signifies our first footprint in Europe. Our expansion blueprint will continue to span across North and South America, Europe and other pivotal markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s vast artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies ahead. We are thrilled to partner with power players who were critical in the creation and success of One Direction, and together we are aiming to find that next global sensation.”

Dawn Airey, co-founder of Moon&Back, added: “Take one of the world’s best entertainment producers and combine it with the world’s best K-pop producer and watch the magic unfold. This is a global first, creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigours of the premier K-pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”

Hall is the former head of light entertainment at UK commercial broadcaster ITV, commissioning shows including Celebrity Stars in their Eyes, You’ve Been Framed and Saturday Night Takeaway.

Russ Lindsay, co-founder of UK talent agency YMU, later brought in Hall to set up Syco Entertainment with Simon Cowell.

As MD of Syco, Hall co-created, formatted and executive produced the UK and global versions of the X Factor and Got Talent franchises. Under Hall, The X Factor spawned local versions in 56 countries, while Got Talent currently airs in more than 190 territories.

Airey’s television career includes roles as controller of arts and entertainment at Channel 4, inaugural director of programmes and later CEO of Channel 5 and MD of Sky Channels and ITV Productions. She has also served as senior VP of Yahoo! and CEO of Getty Images.

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