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USA Network announces judges for upcoming 'Nashville Star' reality series

By Reality TV World staff, 01/07/2003 

USA Network has announced three of the Nashville Star judges who will ultimately choose the winner of the nationwide search for the next country music superstar, premiering Saturday, March 8th on USA Network.

The judges include Columbia/Lucky Dog recording artist Charlie Robison, respected country music journalist Robert Oermann, and Sony Music A&R executive Tracy Gershon. Additional celebrity judges, who will serve on a rotating basis for Nashville Star, will be announced shortly. The host of Nashville Star will be television actress and host Kathleen McClellan.

USA Network's Nashville Star is an upcoming television series produced by Reveille, which is conducting a nation-wide grass roots search for the next great country music artist. After holding 48 local competitions in conjunction with radio stations across the country, Nashville Star has now narrowed the field from more than 8,000 to just 125 applicants. Nashville Star semi-finals have already taken place in Los Angeles and Kansas City, MO. The competitions will continue in Houston, Texas on January 8th, Baltimore, Maryland on January 10th, and finish in Nashville, Tennessee on January 12th.

The top ten finalists selected from the regional competitions will live together in a fully-wired Nashville house, where cameras will record the friendships, squabbles, heartbreaks and intrigues that develop during the course of the live, eight-week competition. The grand prize winner of Nashville Star will receive a recording contract from Sony Music Nashville.

Clint Black will serve as mentor to the contestants throughout Nashville Star, additionally serving as producer of the winner's solo album with Sony Music Nashville. Black's debut album Killin' Time stayed at No. 1 on the country album charts for 28 weeks. Due in large part to the album's four No. 1 singles, "Better Man," "Killin' Time," "Nobody's Home," and "Walkin' Away," the album was certified triple platinum. After a second successful album, Put Yourself in My Shoes, Black was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. After the releases of The Hard Way and No Time to Kill, acting opportunities came Black's way, and he appeared in the television series Wings, in the film Maverick, and in the highly-rated CBS televison movie Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack. His other albums include One Emotion, Greatest Hits, Nothin' But the Taillights, D'Lectrified, and Greatest Hits II. Black and his wife Lisa Hartman were nominated for a Grammy Award for their collaboration "When I Said I Do," which hit No. 1 on the country charts and won an award from the Academy of Country Music.

Columbia/Lucky Dog recording artist Charlie Robison keeps it all real with a heartland/populist approach that blends his natural gifts as a storyteller with a genuine affection for high-steppin' honky-tonk. He is taking a break from the road as he and Step Right Up co-producer Blake Chancey work on Robison's third Columbia/Lucky Dog disc, due for a Spring 2003 release. Robison's version of "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" was included on Sony Music's critically acclaimed all-star Johnny Cash tribute album, released last September. As a recording artist on the judging panel for Nashville Star, Robison will help oversee the entire talent selection process.

Dubbed "the dean of Nashville's music writers," Robert K. Oermann is a multi-media figure in Music City. As a TV personality, he is seen regularly on the Country Music Television series Inside Fame and on A&E's Biography. He is the Editor-at-Large of Country Music magazine, is a weekly columnist for the trade publication Music Row, and has been published in more than 100 other national magazines. In addition, he is a writer/producer for television, writing scripts for specials for such stars as Vince Gill, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Dolly Parton. For Nashville Star, Oermann will utilize his vast knowledge of country music to spot the best voices and songs in the competition.

Tracy Gershon has extensive experience in the music industry, holding positions at Backstreet/MCA Records, EMI Music, Sony/ATV/Tree, Imprint Records and her own management company. Gershon was responsible for signing acts such as The Mavericks, Joe Ely, Carlene Carter, and James House, and joined the Fitzgerald-Hartley Management Team as a partner. Gershon currently serves as an A&R Consultant at Columbia Records for Sony Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles. With her extensive experience in the record label and publishing industries, Gershon in a unique position to encourage the contestants of Nashville Star as they search for their own artistic style.

Kathleen McClellan first garnered national attention as Jerry's naked girlfriend on one of Seinfeld's most memorable episodes. McClellan has also guest-starred on the television series Fastlane, Two Guys and a Girl, Arli$$, Suddenly Susan, and NewsRadio. She hosted episodes of E! Entertainment's Wild On..., FYE, Celebrity Homes, and Search Party. In addition, McClellan has served as a guest host for Extra.

Nashville Star is created and produced by Reveille, run by Ben Silverman. George Verschoor (The Real World, Murder in Small Town X) and his production company, Hoosick Falls Productions, is executive producing in association with Reveille. Reveille is an independent television, film production and distribution company based within the Universal Television Group. Reveille develops and produces new programming formats and concepts by leveraging its unique relationships with the top intellectual property creators in the world. The studio distributes formats and non-traditional programming globally, through an international network of producers and broadcasters. Reveille also generates and identifies integrated marketing opportunities for leading advertisers, creating value and direct audience connections while developing alternative financing for television programs and film.

USA Network is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows and blockbuster theatrical films. USA Network is available in 82% of all U.S. homes, and is seen in 86 million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at

USA Network is a program service of Universal Television Networks, part of the Universal Television Group (, a division of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE), the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications group


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