Fox's new 'Idol'-like 'American Band' reality series to air this fall
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/17/2007
Fox has announced that The Search for the Next Great American Band, the network's new recently announced American Idol-like reality competition series that will do just what its overly wordy title implies, will debut as part of the network's Fall 2007 primetime programming schedule.
However rather than air American Band in the type of attractive time period one would expect Fox to give a new show created by the producers of television's No. 1 program, the network will air American Band in the less-than-prestigious Fridays at 8PM ET/PT timeslot.
The Search for the Next Great American Band was created by Simon Fuller and is being produced by FreemantleMedia North America and Fuller's 19 Entertainment, the same companies behind both American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Fuller and Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick and Cecile Frot-Coutaz will also serve as executive producers for the new show.
"I'll throw my hat in the ring with the producers from American Idol any day of the week," Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori told reporters during a Thursday conference call in which the network unveiled its 2007-2008 primetime programming schedule. "These guys know how to produce great live television."
The Search for the Next Great American Band was first announced during last week's live American Idol broadcast that revealed the show's Top 3 sixth season finalists. American Band will scour the country for musical groups of all ages, styles and genres -- and following a round of auditions -- a panel of yet-to-be-announced judges will whittle the hopefuls to 10 semifinalists who will then have the opportunity to perform in-front of a live studio audience.
During each week of the competition, the musical acts will be presented challenges in the form of various musical themes, a la Idol, and weekly home viewer voting will determine which bands get to stay in the competition and which are sent packing. The Top 3 acts will then compete against one another for a recording contract.
"I think with the advent of so many bands breaking out on the Internet and listeners really choosing the bands that they love, the time's right for a show like this," said Liguori.
In addition to American Band, Fox's Fall 2007 schedule will also include two other reality shows -- Kitchen Nightmares, a previously announced American adaptation of Hell's Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay's British Ramsay'sKitchen Nightmares reality series, and Nashville, a new docu-reality series that will follow a group of young people trying to make their mark in Nashville's music industry.
Nashville, created by the producers of MTV's Laguna Beach, will air Fridays at 9PM ET/PT after American Band. Kitchen Nightmares will serve as Fox's sacrificial lamb and air in the Thursdays at 9PM ET/PT time period against CBS and ABC's top-rated CSI and Grey's Anatomy dramas.
Although Friday nights have traditional proven to be a ratings graveyard for younger-skewing progamming like reality shows, Liguori told reporters he believes broadcasting American Band and Nashville on the night makes sense.
"Why Fridays? It's kind of appropriate," said Liguori. "You know, there's kind of a lot of older female shows on Friday nights, and we feel that there's a big opportunity to go a bit younger, provide some alternative choices, and do it with some real heart. And I think both these show have some real heart."