Rising Star, is this week’s Billboard cover story! I have to admit, when I first heard of the summer competitive reality series months ago, I never imagined ABC would be pimping it so hard. I pegged it for summer filler.
Billboard got a ballpark figure from an executive with experience in reality programming, and it hasn’t been inexpensive to produce. Star salaries include those for “expert” judges Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley, plus host Josh Groban:
“Rising Star” has more money wrapped up in star salaries than the average competition show. Add to that the cost of music rights, staging and musicians, and “Rising Star” winds up in the ballpark of $2 million per episode, according to an executive with experience in reality programming.
One item not in the budget are results shows. The gimmick that ABC hopes ropes in a new audience is real time voting. By the time a contestant finishes performing, they will know exactly where the stand. Performers sing behind a giant wall which does not rise unless a 70% threshold is met. If the wall doesn’t rise, the hopeful goes home.
Producer Ken Warwick, late of American Idol, is happy he doesn’t have to produce a results show. Here he is throwing major shade at the concept, admitting its irrelevancy. Oops!
Ken Warwick, “Rising Star”‘s other executive producer, is intimately familiar with the problem of the results show, having shepherded 320 episodes of “Idol” as its EP from 2002 to this year. “Results shows were padding,” he says bluntly. “Every week you had to come up with some kind of show that would look like it was relevant to the actual result … There is nowhere to take any of these shows now unless you involve the immediacy of interaction.”
The new technology stands to be a money maker, with prompts to download the music from the show. Where expenses are being spared, however, is in signing bonuses. Capitol records WON’T be splashing out huge advances for Rising Star winners.
That interaction has multifaceted value. App users will receive tune-in prompts and can instantly download songs that just have been broadcast. (Capitol Records will release the show’s music and hand the winner a contract as part of the prize package. Signing advances, however, are not what they used to be, and a winner can expect to pocket in the tens of thousands, not the $200,000-plus paydays of “Idol”‘ yesteryears.)
The technology will also mine useful data about it’s users that I’m sure the network (and its advertisers) will find handy.
And the “Rising Star” app developer with Keshet, Screenz, has partnered with Google to launch Screenz Real Time, which will provide ABC real-time data about viewers that can used for targeted advertising to users’ phones or tablets.
Read the entire article at Billboard Magazine and tune in to Rising Star on Sunday June 22, airing at 8ET/PT PM! We’ll be live blogging!