'NBC'S ALL-AMERICAN SUMMER' SHOWCASES NBC'S COMMITMENT TO YEAR-LONG ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING WITH PICKUP OF USA NETWORK'S POPULAR COUNTRY MUSIC TALENT SEARCH 'NASHVILLE STAR' AND SECOND SEASON PREMIERE OF HIGH-OCTANE HIT 'AMERICAN GLADIATORS'
Series Will Provide Momentum Leading into NBC Universal's Exclusive Coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing
BURBANK - January 17, 2008 - As a primary summer component of "NBC's All-American Summer" ramping up to NBC Universal's exclusive coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, NBC has picked up USA Network's popular country music talent search "Nashville Star" and will premiere the second season of the high-octane hit "American Gladiators."
The announcement was made by Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment.
"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 Plestis. "We are thrilled to feature the powerhouse 'Gladiators' this summer and it's a real coup to bring 'Nashville Star' to NBC."
"Nashville Star" is the original grassroots talent search to find America's next great country music star and the longest running competition series on cable. The winner of this last installment received a major recording contract with Warner Bros. Nashville. The fifth season boasted Grammy-nominated host Jewel and Warner Bros. Records' Cowboy Troy. In addition, the show's previous hosts have included Wynonna Judd and LeAnn Rimes. A new host and judges for this season will be announced at a later date. Country music superstars who have made guest appearances on the show include Naomi Judd, Kenny Rogers, Big & Rich, Blake Shelton, Randy Owen, Phil Vassar, Bret Michaels and Little Big Town.
The first four seasons of the series have launched the careers of promising artists including Chris Young, Buddy Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Lance Miller and Angela and Zac Hacker -- the siblings who made it a family affair by coming in first and second respectively last season.
A massive multi-city casting search for this year's talent will kick off in early February and for the first time in the series' run "Nashville Star" will open the auditions not just to solo artists but also to duets and singing groups who are primed to compete. Another first for season six, in attempt to find the best of the best, the competition will be open to singers 16-years of age and older. The two-hour season premiere will feature a casting special where producers take viewers behind the scenes and introduce them to the best and worst talent vying to be the next "Nashville Star."
"Nashville Star" is created by Reveille and produced by 495 Productions and Picture Vision. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens ("American Gladiators"), Mark Koops ("The Biggest Loser") and Sallyann Salsano ("Design Star," "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila") serve as executive producers.
The Sunday, January 6 debut of "American Gladiators" (5.9 rating, 14 share in adults 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall) grabbed the season's highest adult 18-49 rating for any new-series premiere on any network in the opening 15 weeks of the season. It was also NBC's top new-series premiere since "Heroes" launched in September 2006. In addition, "American Gladiators" has quickly established itself as a ratings behemoth among young men and young adults, with its January 6 premiere delivering the highest men 18-34 rating of any non-sports program on any network in the prior seven weeks. That telecast also claimed NBC's highest non-sports rating among adults 18-49 in the time period in nearly three years (since January 16, 2005). The most recent edition of "American Gladiators," on Monday, January 14, ruled its time period with the #1 ratings of the night on any network among men 18-49, men 18-34, adults 18-34, teens 12-17 and kids 2-11.
Hulk Hogan ("Hogan Knows Best") and Laila Ali ("Dancing with the Stars") host the iconic competition series, which returned with a fresh modern reinvention for the 21st century. Using splashy twists including special effects, water skills and the latest technology, the classic games have been upgraded with even higher thrills, impact, energy and spectacle.
Celebrating the everyday, true American heroes -- weekend warriors who excel and take pride in their physical fitness -- 24 contenders go up against the show's Gladiators, charismatic and eclectic warriors -- in the ultimate David & Goliath battle. The male Gladiators including Titan, Militia, Toa, Justice, Wolf and Mayhem and the female Gladiators Fury, Venom, Stealth, Crush, Hellga and Siren, have emerged as larger-than-life, break-out characters.
As in MGM's traditional "American Gladiators" franchise, everyday amateur athletes compete against the Gladiators in contests of physical strength and endurance. The series includes such classic events as Joust, The Wall, Hang Tough, Powerball, Assault, Pyramid, Gauntlet and the Eliminator along with two brand-new events including Earthquake and Hit & Run.
The 24 male and female contenders compete in three rounds of challenges where the final man and woman left standing will win a $100,000 top prize and will become Gladiators next season. All contenders have a unique story to tell and a compelling reason why they need to win. These unsung heroes combine brawn and heart in their effort to be worthy competitors, winning over the audience and turning them against the villainous Gladiators.
The series is currently casting for season two. For more information, please go to www.nbc.com.
"American Gladiators" is produced by MGM Television (the original producers of the show) and Reveille (NBC's "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser," "Nashville Star," "Ugly Betty"). Reveille's Mark Koops, Howard T. Owens and David A. Hurwitz ("Fear Factor") are the executive producers alongside Flor-Jon, Films Inc.'s Johnny Ferraro, original series creator.