S Club 7 Seek To Be Next Spice Girls

UK pop band takes multimedia route.

With a #1 single in the UK and a successful television show already under their belts, English septet S Club 7 have their sights set on being the next Spice Girls.

And it's no wonder — the group is managed by Simon Fuller, who unleashed the Spices on a (mostly) unsuspecting world.

To reach the heights of Spice Girl fame, however, S Club 7 will have to conquer the U.S. The band's self-titled debut is slated for U.S. release Tuesday. The first single, "Two in a Million," has just been released to radio.

Under Fuller's guiding hand, S Club 7, a mixed-gender and multi-ethnic group, are taking a parallel road to launching their career as his former protégés. Like the Spice Girls, who had a passel of #1 hits, S Club 7 already have their first, the infectious "Bring It All Back."

With a catchy chorus reminiscent of the Jackson 5 and Hanson, the single has sold more than 700,000 copies in the UK since its June 1999 release. Like the Spice Girls, who made a feature film, "Spice World," S Club 7 has forayed outside of music with a successful television series, "Miami 7," on the BBC. The program airs in the U.S. at 11:00 a.m. Saturday mornings on the Fox Family Channel.

According to Dave Tomberlin of Interscope Records, the band's U.S. label, the single "Bring It All Back" sold 150,000 copies Stateside without any radio airplay, thanks to the popularity of the Fox show.

Also like the Spice Girls, S Club 7 will have their own line of toy dolls available late this summer. Previewed by Hasbro, makers of the Spice Girls dolls, at February's Toy Fair in New York, the dolls include "accessories typical of their personalities, as well as glitter," Hasbro's Marketing Director Leigh Anne Cappello said. Two singing S Club 7 dolls also will be released, Cappello said.

"Everybody was after the Spice Girls dolls at their peak," said Joe Cole, who manages Time Traveler, a Los Angeles collectible toy boutique. "But that market has totally died down. It all depends on the popularity of the group and the demand. Kids set the market."

Cole said while new pop-based action figures are being manufactured more than ever before, it's the vintage toys — original Kiss dolls, Abba action figures, or Beatles paraphernalia — that are fetching the most money from collectors.

But those Spice Girls toys did well enough, according to Cappello, for Hasbro to continue to work with Fuller. "They were a huge success for us, and the beginning of the whole trend in fashion dolls using pop singers," she said.

Cappello called the "S Club 7 In Miami" TV show "adorable," and stressed the band's positive attitude. The program follows a pop group that comes to the U.S. to make it big, but finds itself stranded because of a shady manager's bad dealings. "It's all about making the best of what you've got and persevering," Cappello said.