This summer, ABC’s going to try to get back into the live talent competition game when Rising Star premieres next month. Deadline.com and Variety are both reporting that the show’s snagged its 1st A-list judge, and it’s…country superstar Brad Paisley! Deadline is reporting the deal is done, while Variety says the deal is close.
Brad was previously eyed as a possible American Idol judge before Keith Urban eventually took the slot (Brad reportedly wanted more money than Idol was willing to shell out). As Deadline reports, Brad already has a relationship with ABC via his 6-years-&-counting stint as cohost of the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, a gig he shares with his good friend and fellow country superstar Carrie Underwood.
The Hollywood Reporter had previously reported that Luke Bryan, who’s easily the most popular country superstar of the moment, turned down Rising Star. Both Brad and Luke are funny, likable, and good looking guys, but between the two, Brad has fared far, far better as an awards show cohost (see video here, here, and here). Hopefully, that’ll translate to Rising Star. THR also reports that Rising Star was looking to book Kesha and will.i.am for the show after Gwen Stefani turned it down.
Brad would not only bring his sense of humor and smarts to the table, but some serious guitar skills, the credibility of a career that’s spanned over 15 years, songwriting chops, and a lot of familiarity with what reality show alum face after the show (he’s brought Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Scotty McCreery and Danielle Bradbery out on tour with him pretty soon after their respective runs on Idol or The Voice). For ABC’s purposes, he covers the country demo. For Brad, I’m sure he won’t mind the extra visibility as he readies his next album (lead single “River Bank” is currently t20 Billboard Country Airplay in its 5th week charting) and tours later this summer.
The Rising Star franchise has seen big ratings success in Israel and Portugal according to Deadline, and is built around the gimmick of live, real-time voting from the very 1st episode via a special voting app. For video examples of how this show works overseas, check out this post and this post. Deadline reports the format is being tweaked to accommodate the 3 U.S. timezones. The show in the US will be co-executive- produced by our old friend Ken Warwick (formerly of American Idol) and Nicole Yaron (formerly of The Voice).
Does the booking of Brad Paisley make you any more likely to watch Rising Star when it airs this summer? The show will premiere at 9 PM Eastern on Sunday, June 22nd on ABC, and has received a 10 episode order from the network.