SM Entertainment is partnering with MGM Television to launch a U.S.-based sub-unit of NCT.
On May 6, American media outlets The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline reported that SM Entertainment and MGM Worldwide Television Group had partnered to create a K-pop audition program in the United States. The program’s goal is to launch a K-pop group that will focus its promotions in the United States.
NCT: NEO CULTURE TECHNOLOGY
The new group will be a sub-unit of SM Entertainment’s group NCT, which operates under the concept of having no fixed limit for members and having fluid membership between sub-units. The group currently has 23 members and sub-units such as NCT 127, NCT U, NCT DREAM, and WayV. The existing NCT members are Taeil, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Kun, Doyoung, WinWin, Ten, Jungwoo, Haechan, Mark, Jeno, Renjun, Chenle, Jisung, Sungchan, Shotaro, Xiaojun, Lucas, Hendery, YangYang, Jaemin and Jaehyun.
What is NCT Hollywood?
The new sub-unit will be called NCT-Hollywood and the audition program will recruit American males aged 13-25. The contestants will compete in dancing, singing, and styling in a “bootcamp training” concept that will take place in Seoul at the SM campus, and it is reported that the current NCT members will participate as judges and mentors.
To be more precise, the new boy group, NCT-Hollywood, will be the latest subunit of SM’s hit “concept” group NCT, a growing collective of members (currently numbering 23) who can be combined into various subunits: NCT 127 (Seoul-based), NCT Dream (originally a teen-only group) and WayV (China-based).
“I look forward to making an unconventional audition show that all music fans around the world can enjoy,” Lee said in a statement. “I hope the audience enjoys watching the journey of new stars being born in Hollywood, that will be promoted as NCT-Hollywood in the global market in the future.”
Plenty of K-pop artists have hailed from different nationalities and Asian ethnicities (NCT includes members who are Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean American and Korean Canadian), and competition shows to form new groups are a fixture of Korean television. However, a series produced in collaboration with an American company to form a U.S.-based K-pop group would be a first; in February, BTS’ company Big Hit Entertainment (now known as HYBE) announced a strategic partnership with Universal Music Group to do the same thing.
K-pop is a cultural phenomenon and that’s why we are in U.S
“This series is exactly the type of innovative programming that MGM is committed to creating on a global scale,” MGM Television chairman Mark Burnett said in a statement. “K-pop is more than a genre of music; it’s a cultural phenomenon and we’re so excited to partner with the incredible Soo-Man Lee and the team at SM to bring K-pop to the U.S.!”
Founded in 1995, SM Entertainment is one of K-pop’s traditional “Big 3” agencies/labels, birthing such major artists as Super Junior, Girls Generation, Shinee, Exo, Red Velvet, NCT and SuperM. Today, K-pop is a $5 billion global industry that generates more than 20 billion downloads and streams worldwide, with more than 62 million listeners tuning into the genre every month on Spotify alone.
Fan Reaction to NCT Hollywood
Right after it was announced that NCT is getting a new sub unit, fans went into a frenzy. But the reaction SM got after announcing NCT Hollywood was not a good one. Here’s a compilation of some of the fan reactions to NCT Hollywood. Fans even created a hashtag for the cancellation of the new sub unit #Cancel_NCT_Hollywood.
Fans are disagreeing strongly to the concept of NCT Hollywood as they want NCT to have Asian or Asian American Members.
NCT x BABY SHARK
On Wednesday, it was also announced that NCT Dream have teamed up with the creators of Baby Shark to release an educational song about dinosaurs, called Dinosaurs A to Z, in which all NCT members make an appearance.
Baby Shark was a popular campfire song turned into a video by South Korean education company Pinkfong that went viral across the world, becoming the most-viewed video on YouTube of all time in 2020.
This comes ahead of the release of NCT Dream’s first full-length album, Hot Sauce, which has reportedly sold more than one million copies on pre-order.