The Next Great Rock Star, the current working title for reality uber-producer Mark Burnett's upcoming CBS reality show which will feature contestants competing for the chance to become the lead singer of the world-famous INXS Australian rock band, will begin its international open audition tour this week. Rock Star will air in Summer 2005 over a thirteen week period that will feature two hours of programming a week, the exact breakdown of which is still to be determined.

Featuring a format similar to American Idol but, like all Burnett reality shows, also focusing on the contestants' behind-the-scenes interpersonal relationships as well as their onstage performance, Rock Star will combine the world of rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination that will be determined by a combination of viewer participation, judges and INXS band members. The last singer standing will become INXS' new lead singer, embarking on a world concert tour with the band and also becoming part of the group's new album.

Although its exact breakdown and scheduling has yet to be determined, each week's two hours of broadcasts will feature a combination of taped reality segments focusing on the relationships and conflicts that develop between the competitors, a live performance competition and the competition's weekly results. Along with the expected return of of CBS's Big Brother, the duo is expected to result in CBS featuring at least five hours of reality programming among its weekly summer lineup.

Mark Burnett Productions has announced that auditions will be conducted in twenty cities spread over six continents, beginning with an open casting call in Atlanta, GA on Thursday, January 20. In addition to the tour's thirteen American stops, international casting call auditions in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia are also already scheduled.

Both men and women are encouraged to tryout, however all applicants must be at least 21 years of age. Unlike American Idol, casting call attendees will be encouraged to perform at least one original song as part of what is likely to be a three song audition performance. While the other songs don't have to be INXS songs, they should be rock and roll songs. Applicants will be allowed to perform with one musical instrument or an accompanist.

In addition to its open casting call tour, Rock Star is accepting mail-in applications. All mail-in applications must be received by February 27.

Following Rock Star's round of applications, successful semi-finalists will travel to Hollywood in May 2005 for the final round of auditions.

Additional details about Rock Star's mail-in application and casting call processes can be found on

The eighteen audition locations currently announced are:

• Atlanta, GA - January 20 at Smiths Olde Bar

• Orlando, FL - January 22 at Club Firestone

• Charlotte, NC - January 25 at The Milestone Club

• Nashville, TN - January 27 at Exit/IN

• New York City, NY - January 30 at CBGB

• Minneapolis, MN - Febuary 1 at First Avenue

• Toronto, Canada - Febuary 4 at The Mod Club

• Chicago, IL - Febuary 6 at Schubas Tavern

• Boston, MA - Febuary 9 at The Middle East

• Omaha, NE - Febuary 11 at Mick's Music and Bar

• New Orleans, LA - Febuary 14 at Tipitinas

• Austin, TX - Febuary 16 at The Back Room

• Seattle, WA - Febuary 19 at Graceland

• Los Angeles, CA - Febuary 25 at Whisky A Go Go

• London, England - Febuary 8 at Shepherd's Bush Empire

• Liverpool, England - Febuary 10 at Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts

• Auckland, New Zealand - March 1 at Studio

• Sydney, Australia - March 5