He’s the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest who’s overseen some of the most radical changes to the modern contest. But it’s now clear than Jon Ola Sand has switched at least some of his attention away from Europe and towards the rest of the world.
Speaking to Eurovision Fan House, he has confirmed that the European Broadcasting Union is discussing the option of creating a Eurovision-style contest for the United States of America.
He said: “We also want to see if it’s possible to create an American version of the Eurovision Song Contest, although we haven’t concluded that yet.”
And while the topic may be on the table for discussion, Jon Ola also suggested that we may not be seeing ‘Americavision’ on our screens in the next few years.
“This is a long term strategy for sure to see how far outside of Europe the brand can reach,” he said.
So what would Eurovision America entail? While Jon Ola doesn’t mention anything else about the contest in this most recent interview, he has previously alluded to the format of the show.
“We are actually in contact with producers in the US to see if it is possible to stage a similar show as the Eurovision Song Contest in the US — competing states against states,” he said. “This is an idea that doesn’t come from us, but from producers there who know the market.”
“For everyone who knows the TV business in the US, it’s very different from Europe and so it has to be a different show adapted for the market. Still, if it carries the brand of Eurovision Song Contest one way or another we have to make sure it carries and is recognisable, and is not just a competition.”
Such a contest would be similar to the Bundesvision Song Contest in Germany, between its 16 Bundesland.
You can hear his comments from 14:00 below.
Will Eurovision America ever happen? With the EBU’s current deal with Viacom to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest live on Logo each year, the US may slowly be warming to the idea of Americavision. The 2017 contest managed to gain an audience of 64,000 viewers in the US (up from 52,000 in 2016).
However, if history repeats itself then we may not want to get our hopes up just yet.
In 2006, multiple American media agencies, including Futon Critic, announced that NBC had gained the rights to a Eurovision-style contest for the country’s 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. The contest was to be decided 100% by public voting, although the exact details were never publicised.
Unfortunately, the contest never came to fruition. However, the fact that these new reports come straight from Jon Ola Sand himself may give hope that more substantial discussions are now underway.
CHANGES TO EUROVISION AND ESC 2018
Although the biggest takeaway from Jon Ola’s interview may be the two lines mentioned about Eurovision America, he did speak about other aspects relating more to the European contest.
When asked if he thought Eurovision had reached its full potential, his answer was no. “The potential has not been reached yet because we still have a lot to do,” he said. “Changes have to be made in steps. And step by step we will continue to develop and take care of the ESC.”
He doesn’t anticipate changes to the voting system, as the current system is the result of years of research and analysis.
“When we decided to change to the present system in 2016 it took many years to make sure it was fair and that we could do this. We had tested it many times and measured the consequences of a system like this. We talked a lot to the members about it, to make sure they were on board and understood the whole set up.”
Jon Ola also gave a brief outlook on the upcoming 2018 contest in Lisbon and said that officials are currently gathering the best core team possible to run the show.
“The Portuguese team is eagerly working on the narrative of the Song Contest and how they can use the show to leverage Portugal, to best showcase themselves, of course always in a way that connects closely to the ESC and its values.”
Are you looking forward to the possibility of Eurovision America? Who would you like to see represent what state? Let us know in the comment section below!