They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. And when it comes to, um flattering, no one does it better than the Chinese. And there’s no better example of that than Chinese online talent search Idol Producer. The show, which recently ended its four month run, saw 100 guys from different talent management companies competing for nine spots in a boyband. If you think that premise sounds k-razily similar to uber popular Korean talent show Produce 101, you’re not wrong. In fact, there are so many similarities between the two shows, from the set design to the editing style to the theme songs, that MNet, which produces Produce 101, has accused online video platform iQiyi, which produces Idol Producer, of plagiarism. Their accusations have also been backed by FRAPA, an organisation that represents television format producers and distributors.
On the other hand, iQiyi has denied the allegations, saying, “We pride ourselves in producing blockbuster original content with innovation. Idol Producer is a great example of iQiyi’s capability to combine our understanding of Chinese audiences and creativity. If there is a problem, we will solve it with legal measures.”
Despite the controversy, Idol Producer, which is hosted by EXO member Lay Zhang, was a massive hit and was viewed more than 2.8 billion times. The show has also turned the boys who made the group, named Nine Percent, into instant stars - their newfound popularity even rivalling, well, K-pop stars.