Produce 48 (Korean: 프로듀스 포티 에잇) was the third season of the South Korean reality competition show Produce 101. It was a large-scale project in which the public "produces" a girl group by voting for members out of a pool of 96 contestants from South Korea and Japan, as well as voting for the group's concept, name and debut single. The show was a collaboration between the Mnet series Produce 101 and the J-pop idol group AKB48. The winning 12 contestants, with no nationality caps, as voted only by Korean viewers, would promote as a group for two years and six months. The program itself is primarily in Korean, however staff and trainer instructions were translated onsite by interpreters. The show announced the final 12 members who made it into, as well as the official name of the group IZ*ONE during the finale on August 31, 2018.
The series was presented by Lee Seung-gi. Other artists featured as cast members:
• Lee Hong-gi
• Bae Yoon-jeong
• Choi Young-jun
• May J Lee
• Jeon Somi (Episodes 1 and 5)
• Kang Daniel (Episode 1)
• Kim Chung-ha (Episode 5)
• Bora (Position Evaluation - Episodes 6 and 7)
One-day Dance Judge: Kahi (Episode 1-2)
One-day Healing Mentor: Bora (Episode 11)
Aired: June 15, 2018
The contestants enter the studio, where seats are arranged in a pyramid numbered from 1 to 96. Each contestant is introduced according to their company or group, with their self-predicted rankings shown on a monitor above the stage. After all 96 girls are seated, Somi and Kang Daniel, the first place winners of the past two seasons, enter as special MC's to explain the rules of the competition. They reveal that top producers Han Sung-soo and Yasushi Akimoto will be involved in producing the debut album of the final group, which will be composed of 12 members. The contestants then perform in front of the mentors for evaluation. Each individual is given a letter grade from A to F based on their overall talents, organizing them into temporary classes for training. At the end, the popularity ranking is shown with HKT48's Sakura Miyawaki taking first place.
Aired: June 22, 2018
In the second episode, after the contestants are grouped according to their grades, the mentors announce that they will be performing on M Countdown with Produce 48's theme song "Nekkoya (Pick Me)", which has a Korean and a Japanese version. Their line distribution and positioning on stage will be determined by their grades, with A having the most while F are backup dancers. The contestants are given three days to memorize the choreography and the lyrics to both versions of the song, after which they will undergo a re-evaluation and have their grades reassigned. The contestants film themselves performing the song individually - once in Korean and once in Japanese. Each video is then watched and evaluated by the mentors. The girls are then given their new grades and asked to move into their new practice rooms. The episode ends with an A-class contestant being moved down to F, a first in Produce history.
Aired: June 29, 2018
The contestants move to their new groups, after which the new A class girls compete for the center position in "Nekkoya (Pick Me)". Each girl is given one minute to appeal to the lower classes, who proceed to vote for their center pick. HKT48's Sakura Miyawaki is chosen to be the center. After the live performance on M Countdown, the girls have their first meeting with producer Lee Seung-gi. Lee explains that the next event is a group battle: contestants are organized into 16 teams of 5-6 members; 2 teams compete against each other on a pop song. The options are "High Tension" by AKB48, "Peek-a-Boo by Red Velvet", "Very Very Very" by I.O.I, "Short Hair" by AOA, "Love Whisper" by GFriend, "Like Ooh-Ahh (Japanese version)" by Twice, "Mamma Mia (Japanese version)" by Kara, and "Boombayah" by Blackpink. The teams practice and then perform the songs, with each individual being voted on separately by the studio audience, and with the members on the winning team for their song receiving a bonus of 1000 votes.
Aired: July 6, 2018
The fouth episode of Produce 48 featured the rehearsals and performances of the rest of the teams. Afterwards, the contestants are shown their rankings based purely on their individual votes without the group bonus. HKT48's Nako Yabuki takes first place, and is further revealed to have taken first place overall as her team won the group battle.
Aired: July 13, 2018
Lee Seung-gi gives words of advice to the girls. I.O.I members from the previous Produce 101 contest meet with the girls and host a dance battle, where in AKB48's Moe Goto is crowned the "Dancing Queen". The girls vote on the top 11 "visual centers", in which Wang Yi-ren takes 1st place. With online votes included, the ranks of the girls are announced from 57th place to 1st place; Lee Ga-eun is voted 1st while Minami Sato is voted 58th. The girls that are ranked 59-92 are eliminated from the competition.
Aired: July 20, 2018
Soyou took the lead in training the girls. The trainees are tasked to perform live in groups based on positions they want to debut in: vocal/rap or dance. There are five songs for vocals and rap (Girls' Generation's "Into The New World", BTS' "The Truth Untold", Heize's "Don't Know You", Blackpink's "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" and Wanna One's "Energetic") and four songs for dance (Fitz and the Tantrums' "HandClap", Ariana Grande's "Side to Side", Demi Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry" and Little Mix's "Touch"). Each song has a member limit and would be picked by each trainee, starting from the 13th trainee. The top 12 trainees are the last to pick and can choose filled groups. The remaining trainees would be given extra songs (Jax Jones' "Instruction" for dance and BoA's "Merry Chri" for vocal/rap). The winner for each song will receive a 5,000 vote bonus, and the overall winner for each of the two categories will receive a 100,000 vote bonus. Also, for the next round of general voting, only 30 contestants will move on. Moreover, Bora showed up as a special MC for the position battle. Vocal/rap and dance teams are shown and after each performance, they are ranked in their groups.
Aired: July 27, 2018
The remaining teams are shown and are ranked in their groups first and then overall in the categories. Han Cho Won emerged as the winner in the vocal/rap category and Murase Sae emerged as the winner in the dance category, both of them earning the bonus 100,000 votes.
Aired: August 3, 2018
Trainer Cheetah announces the beginning of the next evaluation prior to the second round of eliminations, meaning that all 58 girls that have survived so far will continue to practice for the performances, but not all of them may get to perform. The evaluation is revealed to be a concept evaluation where viewers chose group formations from a poll online. Trainer Cheetah introduces the six songs: Contemporary Girls Pop "1000%" (OREO), R&B/Hip-Hop "I Am" (Full8loom, Jake K, and Jin Lee), New Jack Swing "To Reach You" (Mask Rider), Moombahton/Trap "Rumor" (EDEN), Tropical Pop Dance "Rollin' Rollin'" (Wonderkid and Shin Kung) and Pop Dance "See You Again" (Lee Daehwi). The second round of eliminations takes place during the second half of the episode with the remaining 58 contestants from each company are seen entering the main studio. Names of the top 30 trainees are called by Lee Seung-gi one by one starting from rank 29. The contenders for 1st place were Ahn Yu-jin, Jang Won-young, Nako Yabuki and Kang Hye-won. It is then announced that Jang Won-young ranked at 1st place. Meanwhile, the contenders for 30th place were Miyu Takeuchi, Son Eun-chae, Go Yu-jin and Erii Chiba. It is announced that Miyu Takeuchi ranked at 30th, just escaping elimination.
Aired: August 10, 2018
Lee Seung-gi announced that since there's an uneven number of members after the last eliminations, groups with more than five people (Rollin' Rollin', To Reach You, Rumor and I AM) need to vote on who stays. Lee Chae-yeon is kicked out from I Am team, Moe Goto is kicked out from Rollin' Rollin' Team, Miu Shitao is kicked out from Rumor Team, and Miyawaki Sakura and Kim Min-joo are kicked out from To Reach You Team. Then, the trainees who are kicked out of their respective songs need to move to the songs with less than five members (See You Again, 1000%). Starting from the song that has the trainee with the highest rank, See You Again team gets to choose which trainee they want in their team first thanks to Kang Hye-won, who was 3rd, in which they selected Miyawaki Sakura. The rest of the trainees automatically joined 1000% team. Then, Lee Seung-gi visits the girls to give them advice and answer to their questions. The girls then divide their parts and competed for the positions they wanted and had also went to the studio of the producer's of their respective songs to check if the positions were matched well with the contestants. Right after that, they faced an evaluation in front of Lee Seung-gi, their trainers and the songs' composers and choreographers. No performances are aired in this episode.
Aired: August 17, 2018
The 10th episode featured the live performances for all six concept evaluations. Rollin' Rollin' group (composed of Miru Shiroma, Hitomi Honda, Jang Won-young, Kim Do-ah and Kim Na-young) are declared the winners of the concept evaluation, resulting in a total benefit of 130,000 votes (20,000 per member and 50,000 for the first in the group). To Reach You group came in 2nd, Rumor came in 3rd, See You Again group came in 4th, 1000% group came in 5th and I AM group came in last. All six groups performed on MCountdown.
Aired: August 24, 2018
Amidst the eliminations, the girls undergo make-up lessons, attend a therapy session to share about their current feelings with the special participation of Bora. They are also asked to pick a contestant that they would've voted as producers with Yuehua's Choi Yena taking 1st place and Pledis Entertainment's Lee Ga-eun and Woollim Entertainment's Kwon Eunbi taking 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. At the elimination, Lee Seung-gi reveals that only 20 trainees will advance to the final stage. Miyazaki Miho, Kang Hye-won, Lee Chae-yeon and Miyawaki Sakura are called up as the contenders for 1st, revealing Miyawaki Sakura as the first place. The contenders for 20th place are then called up: FNC Entertainment's Park Hae-yoon and Banana Culture's Kim Na-young. Park Hae-yoon survives from being eliminated. With the top 20 confirmed, Lee Seung-gi announces the next and final mission: the debut song evaluation. He introduces "We Together" (produced by Han Sung-soo, Pledis Entertainment's producer) and "You're in love, right? (produced by Akimoto Yasushi, AKB48's producer) as the final line-up's debut songs. He explains that they will be split into two teams of 10, each team composed of one main vocal and nine sub vocals. The girls choose their positions beginning with rank 20 up to 1, with the higher ranked girls being given the advantage of replacing the lower ranked girls and bumping them into another position. After positions are confirmed, the girls begin practicing the choreography and memorizing the lyrics in preparation for the final stage.
Aired: August 31, 2018
The episode begins showing the girls' audition tapes, as well as their final confessional interviews. Throughout the episode, the trainees currently ranked and aiming for the 12th are revealed to encourage people to vote. The debut evaluation starts off with the eliminated trainees joining the top 20 for a performance of "You're Mine". Lee Seung-gi then reveals the group name as Iz*One. The episode then flashes back to the guerilla concert held by the top 20 girls in Japan, where they performed the theme song from the show, with NGT48's Yamada Noe acting as the MC. The episode also shows the last preparations for the two final songs, showing the clip for the two contenders for center position and announcing the final center on stage. WM Entertainment's Lee Chae Yeon is chosen for "We Together" and Yuehua Entertainment's Choi Ye Na for "You're in Love, Right?". Lee Seung-gi had also showed the contenders for 12th position during the live voting which were Miyu Takeuchi, Kim Chae Won, Han Cho Won and Hitomi Honda. The girls are also showed recording a final song sang by all the top 20 trainees titled "While Dreaming", with lyrics describing their journey through the show. The trainees share their final thanks to the trainers and also watch their audition tapes, and finally, reading letters they had written to themselves from earlier episodes.
Voting soon comes to a close, and ranking announcements begin. The ranking announcement started from the contestant who ranked at 11th place which was Urban Work's Kim Min-joo followed by Woolim's Kim Chae-won at 10th, AKB48's Honda Hitomi at 9th, 8D Creative's Kang Hye Won at 8th, Woolim's Kwon Eun Bi at 7th, HKT48's Yabuki Nako at 6th, Starship's Ahn Yu Jin at 5th, Yuehua's Choi Ye Na at 4th, and Stone Music's Jo Yu Ri at 3rd, confirming them for debut. Then, HKT48's Miyawaki Sakura and Starship's Jang Won-young are called up as contenders for 1st, with Won-young taking the first place, confirming her position as Iz One's center. The contenders for 12th place were Cube's Han Cho-won, Pledis' Lee Ga-eun, AKB48's Miyazaki Miho and WM's Lee Chae-yeon. It was then announced that the 12th and final spot for Iz One went to Chae-yeon.