Netflix teams up with Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, T.I. for hip-hop competition ‘Rhythm + Flow’

November 13, 2018

The following is a press release from Netflix:

Global superstars Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. will search for the next breakout hip-hop star in “Rhythm + Flow,” Netflix’s first music competition show set to debut in 2019.

The series—produced by John Legend, Jeff Gaspin, Jesse Collins, Nikki Boella, Jeff Pollack, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius—will bring together the biggest names in music to find fresh talent and help undiscovered hip-hop artists pursue their dreams.

Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. will serve as the three main judges for the competition, joining forces with additional artists and industry VIPs to be announced in the coming weeks.

The multi-city competition will unfold over 10 hour-long episodes beginning in fall 2019.

Auditions will begin this fall across the United States, including the judges’ hometowns of Atlanta, Chicago, and New York.  In each audition city, established rappers who hail from that city will serve as guest judges to help seek out the best unsigned hip-hop artists.  Learn more about how to audition at www.RhythmAndFlowAuditions.com.

Production Companies: Jesse Collins Entertainment, Get Lifted Film Co., and Gaspin Media.

Executive Producers: Jesse Collins for Jesse Collins Entertainment; John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius for Get Lifted Film Co.; Jeff Gaspin for Gaspin Media; Nikki Boella; Jeff Pollack; Cardi B; Chance the Rapper; and T.I.

About Jesse Collins Entertainment

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For over a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment.  Collins has produced ground-breaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Honors and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” starring Kevin Hart, and both the critically-acclaimed mini-series “The New Edition Story” and “The Bobby Brown Story” that reached nearly 50 million total viewers.  He is also the executive producer of the VH1 shows “Dear Mama” and “Hip Hop Squares” with Ice Cube.

About Get Lifted Film Co.

Get Lifted Film Co. is a film and television production company based in Los Angeles, with principals John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius.   They executive produced WGN America’s critically acclaimed drama “Underground,” and served as executive producers on Pop Network’s docu-series “Sing It On.” They also executive produced HBO Documentary “Southern Rites.” Most recently they served as executive producers on NBC Live’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” for which they won a 2018 Emmy Award. They are currently in pre-production on their Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahudin created IFC series “Sherman’s Showcase.” Additionally, they served as executive producers on Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-winning musical “La La Land,” and the Obama romance “Southside With You.” Get Lifted made an impressionable foray into theatre in 2016, producing the audience-favorite “Turn Me Loose,” an off-Broadway one-man play about the life of iconic comedian Dick Gregory. In 2017, Get Lifted co-produced Broadway’s August Wilson play “Jitney,” which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Most recently their documentary “United Skates” won the 2018 Audience Award at Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere on HBO in 2019.

About Gaspin Media

Gaspin Media is a production company formed by former Chairman of NBC Universal TV,  Jeff Gaspin. Gaspin Media produces scripted and unscripted content for Broadcast, Cable,  Streaming and digital platforms. A Two-time Emmy nominee for “Behind the Music,” Gaspin Is currently executive producer on “LA’s Finest,” staring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, for Spectrum’s OTT platform, and “To Tell the Truth,” which is entering it’s fourth season on ABC.  Additionally, Gaspin has series in development at Showtime, Amazon, Fox Network and Lifetime. Over the past five years, Gaspin Media has produced over a dozen series including “Fit To Fat” for A&E, “First Impressions” with Dana Carvey for USA and “Match Made in Heaven” for WEtv.

About Jeff Pollack

Jeff Pollack has worked on over 40 films, five of which received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. The “Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart,” starring Jeff Bridges, went on to win the award. Recently, Pollack was a producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO film about Frank Sinatra “All or Nothing At All.” He was also an associate producer on the film Glen Campbell “I’ll Be Me,” which featured two Grammy-winning songs, including “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” later nominated for a Best Song Oscar. He was a producer on the film “Satan & Adam” which premiered earlier this year at Tribeca Festival, and is an executive producer on a new Johnny Cash film to be released in 2019.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 130 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Netflix announces details of international chef competition ‘The Final Table’

October 16, 2018

The Final Table
A scene from “The Final Table” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

“The Final Table” launches globally on November 20, 2018. Twelve teams of world renowned chefs compete for a seat at “The Final Table.”

About “The Final Table”

“The Final Table” is a global culinary competition show featuring the world’s most talented chefs fighting for a spot at the elite, Final Table made up of the greatest chefs from around the globe. The series features 12 teams of two chefs from around the world cooking the national dishes of Mexico, Spain, England, Brazil, France, Japan, the U.S., India and Italy. Each episode focuses on a different country and its cuisine, with celebrity ambassadors, food critics and the country’s greatest chef eliminating teams until the finale. In that last episode, only one of our competing chefs will win a place at the Final Table, joining the nine legendary culinary icons — Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (US), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Anne-Sophie Pic (France). The series will be presented by Andrew Knowlton, James Beard Award-winning Writer and Editor at Large, Bon Appétit. Created and exec produced by Robin Ashbrook & Yasmin Shackleton. The production company is theoldschool.

The 12 teams include (listed with their associated restaurants and location, and hometowns):

  • Aaron Bludorn (Cafe Boulud: New York, New York, USA, from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA) and Graham Campbell (Castlehill Restaurant: Dundee, Scotland/United Kingdom, from Oban, Scotland)
  • Darren MacLean (Shokunin: Calgary, Canada, from Innisfail, Canada) and Timothy Hollingsworth (Otium: Los Angeles, California, USA, from Houston, Texas, USA)
  • Shin Takagi (Zeniya: Ishikawa, Japan, from Ishikawa, Japan) and Ronald Hsu (Lazy Betty: Atlanta, Georgia, USA, also from Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
  • Alex Haupt (101 Gowrie: Amsterdam, Netherlands, from Sydney, Australia) and Ash Heeger (Ash: Cape Town, South Africa, from Umtata, South Africa)
  • Shane Osborn (Arcane: Hong Kong, China, from Perth, Australia) and Mark Best (Bistro by Mark Best: Hong Kong, China & Singapore, from Sydney, Australia)
  • Monique Fiso (Hiakai: Porirua, New Zealand, from Wellington, New Zealand) and Amninder Sandhu (Arth: Mumbai, India, from Jorhat, India)
  • James Knappett (Bubbledogs/Kitchen Table: London, United Kingdom, from Newmarket, United Kingdom) and Angel Vazquez (Salomé, Into/Angurio: Puebla, Mexico, also from Puebla, Mexico)
  • Jessica Lorigo (Topa Sukalderia: San Sebastian, Spain, from Buffalo, New York, USA) and Johnny Spero (Reverie: Washington DC, USA, from Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
  • Collin Brown (Chef Collin Brown: London, United Kingdom, from Trelawny, Jamaica) and Colibri Jimenez (Casa Morales/My Bowls: Oaxaca, Mexico, from Morelos, Mexico)
  • Esdras Ochoa (11 Westside/Salazar/Mexicali Taco & Co.: Hong Kong, China & Los Angeles, California, USA, from Mexico City, Mexico) and Rafa Gil (Highest Hotel in the World: Hong Kong, China, from Bataguassu, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazi)
  • Charles Michel (Traveling culinary artist: Ecuador, Colombia, France & London, from Bruges, France) and Rodrigo Pacheco (Boca Valdivia: Manabi, Ecuador, from Quito, Ecuador)
  • Manuel Berganza (Tapas Club: Singapore, from Gijón, Spain) and Benjamin Bensoussan (Honest Greens: Madrid, Spain, from Paris, France)
  • The chefs will be judged by celebrity ambassadors and food critics from 9 countries around the world including Dax Shepard, Hasan Minhaj, and Alessandra Ambrosio:

Ambassadors:

  • Colin Hanks and Dax Shepard (United States Ambassadors)
  • Martha Higareda and Julio Cesar Chavez (Mexico Ambassadors)
  • Miguel Bose and Ana Polvorosa (Spain Ambassadors)
  • Gary Lineker and Cat Deeley (United Kingdom Ambassadors)
  • Alessandra Ambrosio and Bebel Gilberto (Brazil Ambassadors)
  • Ranganathan Madhavan and Hasan Minhaj (India Ambassadors)
  • Alessandro Del Piero and Eleonora Cozzella (Italy Ambassadors)
  • Esterelle Payany (France Ambassador)
  • Hikari Mori and Yuji Ayabe (Japan Ambassadors)

Food Critics:

  • Sam Sifton (United States Food Critic)
  • Mariana Camacho (Mexico Food Critic)
  • Borja Beneyto (Spain Food Critic)
  • Jay Rayner (United Kingdom Food Critic)
  • Josimar Melo (Brazil Food Critic)
  • Rashmi Uday Singh (India Food Critic)
  • Andrea Petrini (Italy Food Critic)
  • Francois-Regis Gaudry (France Food Critic)
  • Akiko Katayama (Japan Food Critic)

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About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 130 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

NBC announces ‘Songland’ competition for aspiring songwriters; Adam Levine, Dave Stewart among executive producers

October 9, 2018

Songland logo

Adam Levine (Photo by Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)

The following is a press release from NBCUniversal:

Long before a rock star can bring a crowd to its feet or have an album go platinum, a songwriter infuses their melody and lyrics with emotion, passion and heart.

Aiming to find the next generation of hit songwriters, NBC and Universal Television Alternative Studio are bringing powerhouse producer Audrey Morrissey of “The Voice,” Eurythmics co-founder and producer Dave Stewart, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder together to produce “Songland.” The series will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for talented up-and-coming songwriters to be exposed to and mentored by three music producers per episode who are responsible for today’s biggest hits.

The 11-episode original competition series creates a unique platform for new voices to be heard.

The first edge-of-your-seat episode features three-time Grammy nominee, Billboard chart topper and songwriter Charlie Puth as the mega-recording artist along with a panel of producer-songwriters that includes Grammy winner Tedder, singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter Ester Dean and Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Shane McAnally.

“Songwriters shape the anthems and tell the stories of each generation, and now we’re pulling back the curtain on the collaborative process and opening the door for new talent to emerge,” said Meredith Ahr, President, Universal Television Alternative Studio. “While filming our first episode, the excitement was palpable as we witnessed the creative direction of our panelists transform and elevate the music right before our eyes. Without a doubt, ‘Songland’ will inspire music lovers and give us all a greater appreciation for the songs we love.”

“Music touches people’s lives daily, but few understand how the songs they love are made,” said Morrissey. “Songwriters are the unseen creative force of the music industry. Their lyrics and melodies affect us in deep and meaningful ways, and I’m excited to be part of a show that puts a spotlight on the creators of songs.”

“Songwriters, whether you are aware of it or not, compose the theme songs to our lives. A song can be the pillar on which our dreams are made of or the shoulder on which we cry,” said Stewart. “I’ve been writing songs with and for other people for 40 years and it’s always a thrill to hear those songs interpreted and recorded by all kinds of artists. I’m excited for the viewers to see and hear that magic being created between unknown songwriters and our panel of hit-making mentors.”

“‘Songland’ has been an ongoing passion project for both myself as well as my team at 222,” said Levine. “As a songwriter, I am all too familiar with the challenges that face the music community today. With this new series, we are excited to provide opportunities that will not only impact these songwriters’ careers but also give them a platform to truly showcase their talent to a global audience.”

The series takes an inside look at the creative process and provides one talented winner per episode the priceless opportunity to have their song recorded for a global audience by the chart-topping artists featured in their show.

In each episode five songwriters will perform their original tracks in front of three top music producers and a major recording artist on an intimate soundstage. Each song’s lyrics, arrangements, beats, melody and story will be considered by the panel as producers engage in a lively discussion about ways to creatively adapt them to better fit the style and sensibility of the recording artist of the week.

After the performances, the mega-recording artist will choose three songwriters to move forward to the studio and pair them each with the producer best suited to perfect their song. In the studio, the songs will take shape in unexpected ways as the songwriter and producer duos work together to win over the recording artist. In the end, a winner will be chosen and their song will be recorded and released as the top artist’s next single.

“Songland” is a show that gives songwriters the opportunity to showcase their talents regardless of where they come from or what their day job might be. The series is looking for submissions from people of all walks of life from up-and-coming songwriters and music students, to stay at home moms, bartenders and school teachers. For those interested in appearing on “Songland,” please go to https://www.songlandcasting.com/coming-soon.php.

“Songland” will be executive produced by Stewart, Morrissey, Levine and director Ivan Dudynsky. Josh Gummersall will serve as producer along with Ryan Tedder who is represented by Ron Laffitte, Dana Salant for Patriot Management. The concept was devised by Stewart, Morrissey and Dudynsky.

“Songland” will be produced by Live Animals in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, Dave Stewart Entertainment and 222 Productions. Levine and 222 Productions are represented by Irving Azoff, Adam Harrison for management and WME for film and television.

ABOUT UNIVERSAL TELEVISION ALTERNATIVE STUDIO

Launched in 2016, Universal Television Alternative Studio is a leading supplier of hit unscripted content and alternative formats, and creates, develops and produces a diverse slate of original series domestically and internationally. The studio’s most recent breakout hit is “Making It,” from executive producers Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, and the #1 new series of 2017, “World of Dance,” starring and executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. Additionally, the studio is responsible for the high-stakes game show “The Wall,” which has been sold into 27 territories internationally and has become the highest-rated game show in multiple territories around the world. The hit series “Better Late Than Never” ranked as the #1 new summer series of 2016 and returned this year for season two with more fun, comedy and adventure. Hosted by Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night” has been sold internationally in 17 territories and will begin production on its sixth season in 2018. This year the studio debuted “In Search Of” with Zachary Quinto for History. Upcoming series will include NBC’s athletic competition show “The Titan Games,” starring and executive produced by Dwayne Johnson. Universal Television Alternative Studio is a division of NBCUniversal.

Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn leave ‘Project Runway’ and start their own fashion reality show on Amazon Prime Video

September 7, 2018

by Yvette Thomas

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (Photo courtesy of Lifetime)

It’s the end of an era for “Project Runway,” the long-running talent contest for aspiring fashion designers. “Project Runway” hosts/judges Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who were with the show since its 2004 debut, have left “Project Runway,” and have announced that they are starting their own fashion reality show on Amazon Prime Video.  More details about their new show are to be announced. The press release from Amazon Prime Video is at the end of this article.

In May 2018, it was announced that “Project Runway” would be returning in 2019 to Bravo, the show’s first U.S. network. The 17th season of “Project Runway” will premiere in 2019 on Bravo on a date to be announced. Then in June 2018, Bravo announced that “Project Runway” was also bringing back Magical Elves, the production company that produced the first five seasons of “Project Runway,” which will produce the show with Lantern Entertainment. Magical Elves co-founders Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth were named as the show’s new executive producers, but Klum and Gunn were not mentioned anywhere in Bravo’s announced reboot of “Project Runway.” It was a sign of things to come.

“Project Runway” debuted in 2004 in Bravo, and then moved to Lifetime in 2008, and stayed on Lifetime until 2017. The move to Lifetime was problematic, and resulted in lawsuits between Lifetime and Bravo that were eventually settled. While at Lifetime, “Project Runway” was produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, Miramax Television (from 2004 to 2011), The Weinstein Company (from 2005 to 2017), Heidi Klum Productions and Full Picture Entertainment. After the downfall of Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein in late 2017, when he fired from the company after being publicly accused of sexual assault by numerous women, “Project Runway” distanced itself from The Weinstein Company, which later went bankrupt and sold to investor group Lantern Entertainment.

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum (Photo courtesy of Lifetime)

Gunn started off as an advisor/mentor to contestants on “Project Runway,” and he was promoted in 2011 to co-host/co-judge the show with Klum, who was one of the show’s executive producers. Gunn also became a producer on the show in 2011. In 2013, Klum and Gunn won an Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. “Project Runway” has also won an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming.

In a statement released in June 2018, Cutforth said: “We could not be more thrilled to return as the producers of ‘Project Runway.’ We built the series from the ground up with Bravo and it is part of the DNA of our company.”

Lipsitz added, “Dan and I have always loved ‘Runway’ so much and we can’t wait to return to it with a renewed creative energy. We are really excited to reflect some of the incredible changes that have happened in the fashion world since we last produced the series.”

Bravo also announced that its “Project Runway” reboot would have a grand prize of $250,000, the largest monetary prize so far for “Project Runway.”

“Project Runway’s” most famous winner is Christian Siriano, who won in the show’s fourth season in 2008. He has gone on to become a designer whose fashions are regularly seen at A-list celebrity events and shown at New York Fashion Week.

“Project Runway” Season 16 judges Zac Posen, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn (Photo by Barbara Nitke)

Winners of “Project Runway” have also had their fashions featured in magazine spreads for Elle and later Marie Claire. It has not yet been announced if Marie Claire will continue its affiliation with “Project Runway.” It also hasn’t been announced if any of the show’s other judges will be part of the show’s reboot. Other “Project Runway” judges have included Marie Claire editor Nina Garcia and fashion designer Zac Posen. Fashion designer Michael Kors was a judge on “Project Runway” for the show’s first 10 seasons.

In the years since “Project Runway” debut, the show has launched several editions in other countries, as well as spinoff series.

The following is a press release from Amazon Prime Video:

Amazon Prime Video today announced it is developing a new reality fashion series from the recent Emmy nominated duo of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, which will premiere globally in over 200 countries and territories. While details remain close to the vest, the show will continue Klum and Gunn’s 14-year relationship and a commitment to making fashion accessible to a wide audience.

The series will be a fresh take in the reality space and will appeal to a global audience who are entertained by competition, storytelling, and authenticity. Additionally, Amazon Fashion will create a shoppable experience for viewers. This intersection of content, commerce, and technology is perfectly suited to the cord cutter generation and streaming consumers.

Over the years, Klum and Gunn, who previously won an Emmy Award in 2013, have enlightened viewers about the craftsmanship, talent and sheer dedication it requires for designers to take ideas from sketch to runway with many challenges along the way. They have used the narrative of fashion as a starting point to spark discussion and create conversation around the fabric of the stories they’ve told. Issues that have been explored include body positivity, inclusion, and diversity.

“After 16 incredible seasons, I am saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Project Runway, a show that I was honored to host and help create,” said Heidi Klum. “I am incredibly proud of the show, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I am so appreciative of the dedicated fans, and most of all, I am grateful that we could shine a light on creativity and help launch so many talented designers’ careers. I’m most excited that my journey with my dear friend and colleague, Tim Gunn, is far from over. We will be partnering with Amazon for a new show, and we’re excited for everyone to see what we’re designing next!”

Tim Gunn commented: “I am grateful to Project Runway for putting me on a path I never, in my wildest dreams, thought my career would take me! I am so proud to have been a part of the groundbreaking process that showcased talented young designers as never before. Most importantly, I am indebted to our incredible fans, they are the heart and soul of what we do, and continue to inspire us to raise the bar in this arena. I’m excited for them to see what’s next, as I partner with Amazon and Heidi Klum on our next great ‘fashion’ adventure.”

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, commented: “Heidi Klum completely changed the television landscape by developing a competitive reality fashion series that was unproven and different from what was popular on-air. The show became wildly successful, and in turn Klum and Tim Gunn have become an iconic pop culture duo. Their drive to deliver fashionably entertaining, engaging and trendsetting content speaks for itself, and we believe their next iteration in this space will find an even larger audience on our global Prime Video runway.”

 

Shania Twain, Jake Owen are hosts and judges of talent contest ‘Real Country’

April 30, 2018

The following is a press release from USA Network:

USA Network today announced “Real Country,” a new country music showcase series featuring multi-platinum, five-time GRAMMY Award®-winning trailblazer Shania Twain, and ACM Award-winning and platinum-selling singer-songwriter Jake Owen. Premiering this fall on USA, the eight-part “Real Country”  will film this summer in Nashville and is produced by Wilshire Studios, with Twain, Nicolle Yaron, Stijn Bakkers and Leslie Garvin set to executive produce.

In each hour-long episode, Twain and Owen hand-select emerging solo artists, duos and groups to perform in showcases that spotlight the rich traditions, songs and themes of specific country genres. The best artists from each showcase will perform in a grand finale, for the chance to be named one of country music’s next breakout acts.

“’Real Country’ celebrates everything we love about country music, while providing a unique platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent,” said Heather Olander, Senior Vice President, Alternative Development and Production, USA Network. She added: “We are extremely lucky to work with both Shania and Jake. Shania is a true international icon who remains the best-selling female country artist of all time and whose music broke barriers across genres, and Jake is an ACM Award-winner who consistently dominates the country charts with some of today’s biggest hits.”

Twain shared: “It’s been an incredible year for me, releasing my new album and coming back to country music. I feel it’s time for me to add my own support in finding our greatest undiscovered talent. It’s beyond thrilling to be leading the charge with “Real Country,” and I’m on a mission to find artists who will keep country music diverse and dynamic. The kind of diversity that inspired all of us.”

Added Owen: “Country music truly seems to be the healing factor in a lot of people’s lives. I will always be grateful for music, whether I’m performing or listening, and I want to encourage up-and-coming artists to tell their stories, find their audiences and make their mark in country music with the same guidance that artists have given to me throughout my journey.”

“NBCUniversal has made a commitment to reimagine the commercial experience,” said Mark Marshall, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. “’Real Country’ is a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to connect with the genre’s passionate fan base in an engaging and authentic way.”

Anyone interested in being invited to perform on one of “Real Country’s” showcases can apply at http://realcountry.castingcrane.com or via email at RealCountry@castingduo.com.

About Shania Twain:
International superstar Shania Twain is a five-time GRAMMY winner and the reigning Queen of Country Pop. With more than 90 million albums sold worldwide and U.S. sales topping 34.5 million, Twain remains the top-selling female country artist of all time. Her albums include “Shania Twain,” Twain’s Platinum-selling 1993 debut; “The Woman in Me,” her GRAMMY Award-winning, Double Diamond-selling 1995 release; “Come On Over,” the best-selling studio album in Soundscan history by a female artist in any genre and the best-selling country album of all time with over 40 million units sold worldwide; and “UP!,” Twain’s third consecutive Diamond-selling album release.

Recognizing her indelible impact and achievements in music, Twain is the first and only female to receive CMT’s Artist of a Lifetime Award, and she recently received the Icon Award at Billboard’s Women in Music ceremony. Twain’s hits include “Any Man of Mine,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “You’re Still the One” and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” Twain’s first album in 15 years, “NOW,” was released in September 2017 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 albums, making it the first female country release in over three years to top the all-genre chart. Additionally, the album landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country album chart and went to No. 1 in Canada, Australia and the UK. Twain is currently gearing up to embark on her 2018 NOW World Tour.

About Jake Owen:
ACM award-winner and Grammy-nominated Owen has had six No. 1 singles to date – the two-time platinum anthem “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” platinum-certified hits “Beachin’,” “Anywhere with You,” “Alone with You,” “The One That Got Away” and, gold-certified “American Country Love Song.” Owen’s fifth studio album, “American Love,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200 all-genre chart. Most recently, Owen signed a new label deal with Big Loud Records, reuniting him with producer Joey Moi. Owen’s debut single for Big Loud, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane),” is the fastest rising single of his career. Owen and Moi are currently in the studio working on a forthcoming project.

About USA Network:
USA Network, the leader in cable entertainment, offers a powerful stable of dramatic, comedic and unscripted originals in more than 102 million U.S. homes. The network also features spectacular live television, a dynamic portfolio of acquired series and the best in blockbuster theatrical films and entertainment events. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. USA’s award-winning website is located at http://www.usanetwork.com. Watch USA Network anywhere: On Demand, online or across mobile and connected TVs.

About Wilshire Studios:
Wilshire Studios develops and produces a diverse slate of original unscripted programming for multiple platforms, aligning with award-winning producers and innovative storytellers to create compelling content that explores reality through a variety of formats. From E!’s signature “Live from the Red Carpet,” USA Network’s “The Cromarties” and Oxygen’s “Mysteries and Scandals,” to the upcoming “Real Country” for USA, “Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers for Oxygen” and the debut “People’s Choice Awards” on E!, Wilshire Studios produces series that are informative, revealing, thrilling and entertaining. Wilshire Studios is part of the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio.

Tyra Banks tapped to host ‘America’s Got Talent’ and returns as host of ‘America’s Top Model’

March 16, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks (Photo courtesy of VH1)

Supermodel/producer/entrepreneur Tyra Banks has been named the new host of the talent contest “America’s Got Talent.” In addition, Banks is returning as host of “America’s Top Model,” the reality show modeling contest that she launched in 2003. Season 12 of “AGT” (which airs in the U.S. on NBC) begins filming in March 2017, while Cycle 24 of “ANTM” (which airs in the U.S. on VH1) begins filming in the summer of 2017.

Banks was a host and a judge on “ANTM” from 2003 to 2015, when it was cancelled by The CW. She remained an executive producer of the show when it was revived in 2016 on VH1 with host Rita Ora and judges Ashley Graham, Drew Elliott and Law Roach. Although Banks did not host “ANTM” that season, she made guest appearances on the show. The judges for Cycle 24 of “ANTM” are to be announced.

Banks commented about returning to host “ANTM” in a statement: “I’m overwhelmed and humbled by the intensity of the ‘ANTM’ fan base whose deep affection for the show led me to have a change of heart. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that remaining behind the camera wasn’t enough because ‘ANTM’ is woven into my DNA.”

In a separate statement, Banks commented on her “AGT” hosting gig: “Since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with grandiose acts and performers who make the seemingly impossible possible. I love how ‘AGT’ brings that feeling into everyone’s home, capturing the best of people who come out and give it their all to make those big, fierce and outrageous dreams come true. I look forward to connecting with the dreamers, having fun and giving hugs and words of encouragement when needed. And maybe I’ll get one or two performers to smize for the audience!”

On “AGT,” Banks replaces Nick Cannon, who hosted the show from 2009 to 2016. Cannon quit “AGT” in February 2017. He made the announcement on February 13, 2017, in a lengthy post on his Facebook page, claiming that he was”threatened with termination by executives ” after he made a racial joke on his Showtime stand-up comedy special “Nick Cannon: Stand Up, Don’t Shoot,” which premiered on February 10, 2017.

Cannon said in his Facebook announcement: “There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting ‘America’s Got Talent’ for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices.

“Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’  for so called unruly actions. I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show.”

In early March 2017, Marlon Wayans confirmed reports that he was being considered as a replacement for Cannon, but Wayans (who is known for his profanity-laced, adult humor) told the media that he didn’t think he would be right for the job, since “America’s Got Talent” is a family viewing show. Tone Bell and Mychal Smith were also named in media reports as being possible candidates to host “AGT.”

On March 14, 2017, Banks posted a photo on her Twitter account  of a bouquet of flowers with the accompanying note: “Tyra, congratulations and good luck on AGT! Love, Nick C.” Banks posted her reaction to the kind gesture by saying it “made me smile.”

Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel have returned as judges on “AGT.” Cowell (who is also an executive producer of the show) has signed  on to be a judge on “AGT” through 2019.