SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- "Produce 101," the high-profile idol competition TV show by cable channel Mnet, will start its fourth season this week to put together a new boy band that will follow the popular acts Wanna One and IZ*ONE.
A total of 101 young male idol wannabes will compete for the fourth season, titled "Produce X 101," a fan-voted idol competition show, whose first episode will hit the small screen at 11:00 p.m. Friday. The new season of the weekly show runs for a total of 12 episodes.
Through its previous three seasons, the reality show launched three project music bands -- I.O.I, Wanna One and IZ*ONE -- which all went on to enjoy sensational commercial and musical success at home and abroad.
Considering the huge overseas interest the bands have garnered, the show will be broadcast live across the globe through the online V Live broadcasting channel, YouTube as well as four other global broadcasting platforms, like JOOX and Mnet Japan.
The final winners of the show will debut in a new boy group which will operate for five years, a far longer term than the one-and-a-half-year contract with Wanna One, an 11-member boy band formed through the second season.
"We were very regretful to see Wanna One (forced to disband), because their contract was short-termed, while their popularity swept the world," Kim Yong-beom, a high-ranking official at Mnet, said in a press conference Tuesday.
"(The contract) was extended to five years so that the new band would be able to work globally for five years after its formation," he noted.
The show's chief producer, Ahn Joon-young, hopes the new band will follow in the footsteps of Wanna One to build a solid presence on the global music scene. "I hope the upcoming band will also be very active on Billboard music charts," he said.
Having emceed the previous season, actor Lee Dong-wook again joined the show as the main host, while the panel of choreographers and singers, including Lee Seok-hoon and female rapper Cheetah, who coached the program in the past, also came back for the new season.
First launched in 2016, the TV program has emerged as arguably the most promising channel of debut for young talents and has spawned a number of similar idol competition shows by other broadcasters.
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