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 [email protected].

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.

Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie join ‘American Idol’ as judges

September 29, 2017

Luke Bryan (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS)
Lionel Richie (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC)

The following is a press release from ABC:

Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have signed on as judges for the beloved music competition series “American Idol” for its first season on ABC. They round out the panel of judges, alongside judge Katy Perry. Ryan Seacrest will return to host the series. The panel will make their debut appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, October 4.

“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” said Bryan. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”

“I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on ‘American Idol,’” said Richie. “As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”

“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for ‘American Idol’ on ABC,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. “In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable, and we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage.”

Trish Kinane, president of Entertainment Programming, FremantleMedia North America, executive producer and showrunner of “American Idol,” said, “We have taken our time to get the right mix of amazing talent for the new Idol judging panel. Our viewers expect musical credibility, passion and a true concern for the contestants; and with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie joining the brilliant Katy Perry, we have two more world-class musical powerhouses eager to get to work and identify the next generation of superstars.”

Peter Hurwitz, CEO and president of 19 Entertainment-parent Core Media Group, said, “This extraordinary panel of judges speaks volumes about the continued power of the iconic ‘American Idol’ brand. We are thrilled to have Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan join Katy Perry and, ultimately, millions of viewers as we begin this new era on ABC.”

Yesterday, Bryan kicked off his ninth annual Farm Tour performing in six cities through October 7. Since the tour’s inception in 2009, Bryan has awarded 50 scholarships to a local student from a farming family within the communities the tour has played. Bryan will also continue his Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day Tour through October.

Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, a five-time host of the ACM Awards and the 2017 Super Bowl LI national anthem performer. Luke has placed 18 singles at No.1, sold over 10 million albums and more than 40 million tracks with three billion music streams, and has performed for millions of fans on tour. He recently debuted a new single, “Light It Up,” which is the first song off a new album due out later this year.

Singer-songwriter, record producer and international superstar Lionel Richie has a discography of albums and singles that are second to none. His music is part of the fabric of pop music; in fact, Richie is one of only two songwriters in history to achieve the honor of having No. 1 records for nine consecutive years. With more than 100 million albums sold worldwide, an Oscar®, a Golden Globe®, four Grammy Awards®, the distinction of MusicCares person of the year in 2016, and Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017, the Tuskegee, Alabama, native is a true music icon.

Richie is known for his mega-hits such as “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Penny Lover,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and one of the most important pop songs in history, “We Are the World,” written with Michael Jackson for USA for Africa. His song catalog also includes his early work with The Commodores, where he developed a groundbreaking style that defied genre categories, penning smashes such as “Three Times a Lady,” “Still” and “Easy.”

Richie launched his Las Vegas headlining residency show, Lionel Richie – All the Hits, at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in April 2016. In an unforgettable evening featuring his brightest and best anthems which have defined the music icon’s unparalleled career, Richie takes his fans on a spectacular musical journey, performing a variety of his seminal hits. With his most recent All the Hits, All Night Long Tour, Richie sold out arenas worldwide with a set list of his brightest and best anthems. In recent years, he also headlined festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and Glastonbury, drawing the festival’s biggest crowd ever with more than 200,000 attendees.

When “American Idol” debuted in the U.S., the series revolutionized television, pioneering the reality-competition genre and holding an unmatched record for being the highest-rated series for nearly a decade. The series also ushered in second-screen audience participation, being the first to introduce text-based and mobile voting. The “Idol” format has taken on original versions in 55 countries around the world, and “American Idol” itself has played to a worldwide audience of over 460 million across 53 countries. At its new home on ABC, “American Idol” will continue to be a force in the television landscape, reaching every corner of the country in its search for the next great music sensation.

“American Idol” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group. Executive producers include FremantleMedia North America’s Trish Kinane and Jennifer Mullin along with co-executive producer, Megan Wolflick. FremantleMedia International distributes the series worldwide.

Fox announces new singing competition ‘The Four’

August 8, 2017

Fox logo

Just over a year after cancelling “American Idol,” the Fox network has announced that it will debut “The Four,” a new singing competition, which will premiere in 2018 on  a date to be announced. “American Idol” is being revived on ABC in January 2018, with judge Katy Perry and host Ryan Seacrest as the on-air talent announced so far. “American Idol” was on Fox from 2002 to 2016.

Here is what Fox announced about “The Four” in a press release:

“The Four” begins where most competitions end: with the four finalists. Four super-talented and fiercely competitive singers, chosen from their auditions by the show’s panel of music industry experts, will try to defend their coveted spots on the stage, as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them. Each week, if any of the four are outperformed, they’ll go home and their challengers will take their place.

And those challengers could be fans who had been sitting on a couch one week, and singing onstage the next. Viewers who think they’ve got the talent to compete and unseat the four singers onstage will have the opportunity to submit an audition video. America will have the chance to decide who is brought onto the show by voting on the available streamed auditions and influencing which challengers will take on “The Four” and shake up the competition.

If the existing four singers outperform their challengers, then they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the singers have safely secured their spots on stage and face off against each other, resulting in one being named the winner. At stake is the ultimate prize: the panel of industry experts becomes key players on the winner’s team. This elite group of star-makers will help shepherd the winner’s career and be fully invested in making him or her a breakout star.

Expert panelists and additional information regarding “The Four” will be announced soon.

“The Four” was created by Armoza Formats and is produced by ITV Entertainment in association with Armoza Formats.  David George, Adam Sher, David Eilenberg, Jessica Sebastian-Dayeh, Simon Thomas, Becca Walker, David Friedman, Avi Armoza and Nehama Cohen will serve as executive producers.

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