"American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe will launch a country music competition series on CMT in April, coming after "Nashville Star" ended its run on NBC in 2008. "CMT's Next Superstar" will be considerably smaller in scope than "Idol," with 10 one-hour episodes, although it will look for contestants who can write songs and perform in music videos. Viewers will vote for the winner.
Lythgoe returned to "Idol" this year to lead production after two seasons off, brought back to re-energize the franchise. The CMT series will be executive produced in partnership with his son Simon, with the involvement of 19 Entertainment, which is part of CKX and owns the "Idol" brand globally.
Simon Lythgoe stated that "contestants will turn [to] some world renowned songs from other genres, like pop or Motown, pour their soul into it and make it country."
Simon is not new to CMT, having worked on the network's "Can You Duet" and "Celebrity Family Feud." Nigel Lythgoe is also a co-creator of Fox series "So You Think You Can Dance."
CMT, part of MTV Networks, recently launched its first scripted series, the comedy "Working Class" that debuted to record ratings.
When he owned production entity Reveille, Ben Silverman launched the similar "Nashville Star" on NBC Universal's USA network in 2003, an attempt to capitalize on the "Idol" excitement. The show aired for five seasons on USA before moving to NBC for its final go-round in 2008. CMT had re-run rights to the final season.
Scripps' Great American Country network has run the "The Next GAC Star."