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‘American Idol’ Producer and Son Launching ‘CMT’s Next Superstar’

Nigel Lythgoe
Toby Canham, Getty Images

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘American Idol’ executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and his son Simon will produce a new country music singing-songwriting competition series for CMT.

The series, ‘CMT’s Next Superstar,’ will differ from ‘Idol’ in many ways and 10 episodes are slated to begin airing in April. The series’ big winner will be announced during the CMT Awards in June, in conjunction with the release of a new single from that artist.

“Country music is all about storytelling, personalities and putting yourself into the songs,” the elder Lythgoe told THR. “This show is not about going to a (television production) set; it’s about being in a location that has history to it. We’re down and dirty in the heart of Nashville.”

The judging panel has not been selected yet. However, the big finale will be held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The grand prize is a record deal and a spot on the CMT summer tour.

As for how ‘CMT’s Next Superstar’ will differ from ‘Idol’ and the similar ‘Nashville Star?’ Lythgoe said,
“No one episode is the same. We’re changing locations all the time, shooting in Nashville, Memphis and Texas. Every challenge is different. Every guest judge will be different. On ‘Nashville Star,’ they didn’t have media challenges. We’re giving them radio training and putting them through photo shoots and music video challenges. We’re putting them on a tour bus. You’re really going to get to know these contestants really well, just by being with them 24-7.”

Additionally, the contestants, who will live together in a mansion outside of Nashville, will be allowed to make songs their own by taking non-country songs and ‘countrifying’ them. They can also make use of fiddles, steel guitars and other musical amenities and tools.

Looks like country music will get its shot with ‘Idol’ watchers this spring.

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