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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Contender moves to KL

SINGAPORE, May 29 — Singapore fans of kickboxing reality show The Contender Asia better brace themselves for a blow over where it is filming its second season.

The popular show which received funding from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for the first season filmed here has knocked out Singapore for its next round and opted for Malaysia instead.

Landing the first season filming had been seen as a coup for Singapore and raised the hope of the Republic being a launching pad for more projects with the show’s co-producer Mark Burnett, who created the hit reality show The Apprentice and produced the long-running Survivor.

But executive producer Riaz Mehta, chief executive and founder of Singapore-based media company Imagine OmniMedia, told Life!: “We were looking for options for the second season and we had a strong show of support from the Malaysian government.”

The Contender Asia is produced by Imagine OmniMedia in partnership with Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks SKG, the brainchild of media moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Asked if the move to Malaysia was over a question of money, Mehta said:

“Of course, all these end up being commercial decisions. We have to weigh multiple factors — money is one of the factors, not the only one.’

Filming begins in early July and the series is set to air on AXN on Oct 21. There will be 16 contenders from 12 countries — none from Singapore — slugging it out for a total prize that is likely to be at least US$250,000 (RM878,000).


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