Rising Star is finally starting to take shape. ABC has tapped Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley to serve on the judges panel of its summer singing competition. Josh Groban will host.
Though none of the four have been involved with a TV competition on this level before, most aren't strangers to reality and live programming. Paisley has had an incredibly successful history with the CMA Awards (and ABC), co-hosting the show with Carrie Underwood. Groban, who was a frequent guest co-host on syndicated daytime talker Live!, was once a frontrunner for Regis Phibin's chair before it ultimately went to Michael Strahan. And Kesha, for her part, had her own unscripted vehicle in MTV's Kesha: My Crazy Beautiful Life.
Ludacris is hosting Sunday's Billboard Music Awards. The May 18 ABC telecast will also be the first time the network trots the foursome out together.
Based on the successful Israeli format from Keshet and Dick Clark Productions partnership Keshet DCP, Rising Star is ABC's second attempt at a singing competition in recent years. (Duets had a soft, one-off run in 2012.) The show also marks the first big launch for new reality topper Lisa Berger. She joined the network as executive vp alternative series, specials and late night in September and acquired the stateside rights to Rising Star just two months later.
It is a tough time for singing competitions. Simon Cowell's The X Factor was canceled after three seasons in January, and American Idol's ratings decline has prompted a smaller order for Fox's 2014-15 season. NBC's The Voice is still enjoying its second year as the Big Four's reality gold standard, but even that show has hit series lows in recent weeks.
Rising Star is banking on interactive elements to make some noise of its own. The show, which will tape in L.A. and air live on the East Coast, includes real-time voting — though ABC has yet to clarify how that will work with the time-delayed broadcast on the other side of the country.
Another new development Rising Star has going for it is its Sunday time slot. With the exception of Big Brother, the night is not traditionally the home of live reality TV. Rising Star premieres June 22.
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