Britain Got Talent
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Britain's Got Talent (sometimes shortened to BGT) is a British television talent show competition which started in June 2007 and originated from the Got Talent series. The show is produced by FremantleMedia's Thames (formerly Talkback Thames) and creator Simon Cowell's production company SYCOtv. The show and its sister show Britain's Got More Talent are broadcast on ITV. Anyone of any age with some sort of talent can audition for the show. Acts compete against each other in order to gain the audience support while trying to win the title of "The winner of Britain's Got Talent". Each year, on the morning of the first show of the new series, Britain's Got Talent has a special program titled "Most Talented", featuring interviews of the winners from the previous series and their progress since winning.
Throughout the show, contestants must perform in front of the judges, and each year initial auditions have been held in front of a live audience. Auditions precede live shows, where the final 40 contestants (45 in 2012) perform nightly for a week in order to impress the British public. There have been six winners to date: Paul Potts, George Sampson, Diversity, Spelbound, Jai McDowall and Ashleigh and Pudsey. The winner of each series is given the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of members of the British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II. The winner also receives a cash prize, which from series 1 to 5 was £100,000, but was increased to £500,000 in series 6. Britain's Got Talent is known as one of Britain's biggest television talent competitions and has also proven popular throughout Europe. The series 3 live final brought in 17.3 million viewers, (a 64.6% audience share). On 18 October 2010, ITV announced that Cowell had signed a new three-year contract renewing Britain's Got Talent until 2013.
The initial judging panel consisted of Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. Kelly Brook was brought in as a fourth judge during series 3, but was axed just days later. In 2010, it was announced that Morgan would not return as judge for series 5 and that Cowell would be absent during the auditions stage, so Michael McIntyre and former America's Got Talent judge David Hasselhoff joined the panel. In 2011, Hasselhoff and McIntyre revealed that they would not return for series 6. They were replaced by comedian David Walliams and Alesha Dixon, a former Strictly Come Dancing judge and member of girl group Mis-Teeq.