NBC plucks 'Nashville Star' from USA, sixth season to air in summer
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/18/2008
NBC has formally announced it has decided to pluck Nashville Star from its sister network USA, which aired the first five seasons of the reality competition series.
Nashville Star's Summer 2008 sixth-season is scheduled to air on NBC prior to the network's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, which will commence August 8. American Idol with a country twang, Nashville Star first premiered on USA -- which is owned by NBC Universal -- in March 2003 and subsequently aired four more annual installments.
"The show doesn't quite fit USA's brand," USA president Bonnie Hammer toldDaily Variety in a January 4 report. "We'd rather invest those production dollars in scripted series."
NBC became a logical (but ethically conflicted) fit for Nashville Star last May when the broadcast network appointed Ben Silverman to the newly created role of co-chairman for NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio. Two days after Silverman's June 18 start date with NBC, USA Todayreported NBC "might adopt" Nashville Star, which is produced by Reveille -- a production company launched in 2002 by Silverman, who also serves as one of the show's producers.
While Nashville Star's most recent edition was hosted by singers Jewel and Troy "Cowboy Troy" Coleman and saw contestants judged by Alabama frontman Randy Owen, country singer Blake Shelton and music industry executive Anastasia Brown, NBC announced "a new host and judges" for the sixth season will be announced at a later date.
In addition, Nashville Star's sixth-season casting calls are scheduled to commence in early February and -- for the first time in the show's history -- the competition will be open to duets and singing groups as well as solo artists.
Nashville Star's minimum age requirement has also been lowered from 18- to 16-years-old for the upcoming installment, which will premiere with a two-hour Idol-like casting special that will include clips from both the best and worst hopefuls who auditioned.
In addition to Nashville Star's pickup, NBC announced that the recently ordered second season of American Gladiators -- another Reveille-produced series -- will also air this summer prior to the Olympics.
"These exciting new reality shows will be a vital part of 'NBC's All-American Summer' building up to the drama of the Beijing Olympics," said NBC executive Craig Plestis. "We are thrilled to feature the powerhouse Gladiators this summer and it's a real coup to bring Nashville Star to NBC."