Variety reports that with Fox's "American Idol" surging to its first season finale next week, CBS is bringing back the classic syndicated variety/talent hunt series that started it all: "Star Search." The network has ordered nine episodes of an updated take on the show, which is being targeted for a midseason 2003 bow.
Ed McMahon, who hosted the original "Star Search" throughout its 1983-1995 off-network run, will not be involved as host of the new series. "What I'm hoping we get to do is present a classy and classic variety show with the drama of competition," executive producer Andrew Golder told Daily Variety.
Like the original, the new "Star" will feature wannabes competing in categories such as music, comedy, junior stars and possibly supermodel (a new name for the old spokesmodel competition). Categories could also change from season to season. Three judges will be on hand to render verdicts, with a fourth guest judge a possibility. Open auditions will be held in 10 cities over the next three months to find contestants for the first batch of shows.
Rather than having contestants come back every week until they're eliminated, Golder plans a tournament-style competition in which the winner of, say, a week-one heat returns in week three to face off against the champ from week two. A final competition at the end of the show's first nine-week run would determine the ultimate winner. It's not clear yet whether viewers will have a chance to judge contestants, a la "Idol." Prize values are also still being worked out, but will likely be a combo of cash and a career premium such as a record deal or stand-up gig.