Creator of the 1999 New Zealand reality show Popstars Jonathan Dowling, 46, has changed the face of television sparking spinoff TV formats, such as The X Factor, American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent. Though it had echoes of vintage talent shows such as Opportunity Knocks, that original nine-week run of Popstars in New Zealand did something truly new: a two-man panel whittled down 500 contestants to just five. In the process, the creation of a new pop sensation — an all-girl band called TrueBliss — was caught on camera. “The series was a wild ride, but we always had the feeling that it was a TV first,” says Dowling. “Something new — and something big.” Nowadays Dowling says wryly: “I am at the end of quite a long food chain, but there’s been some food.” His time is now spent trying to think of another idea that could have the impact in the second decade of the century that Popstars had in the Noughties. He mentions an idea that he is actively discussing with networks in New Zealand. This time around, Dowling says he intends to talk directly to the major broadcasters around the world. If lightning does strike a second time, then he plans to be in the driving seat.