CBS revives ''Star Search'' -- In the post-''American Idol'' landscape, the net thinks viewers are primed for the return of the '80s variety talent show

Star Search

Maybe you wanted to become famous on ”American Idol” this summer, but you couldn’t sing. (Not that that stopped some of the contestants.) Still, if you can act, tell jokes, or fill out a bikini, you may still have a platform to launch yourself into stardom. CBS announced Wednesday that it’ll air a prime-time version of ”Star Search,” the syndicated variety talent competition that was a kitschy favorite during its 1983-95 run and provided early exposure for such varied celebrities as Britney Spears, Dennis Miller, and Jenny Jones. The initial run of the new ”Star Search” will be nine weeks and will premiere in midseason.

As on the old show, contestants will compete in such categories as acting, comedy, and ”supermodel” (replacing the old ”spokesmodel” category). Variety reports that there will be three judges, a la ”Idol,” with a possible fourth guest judge. (The show may also solicit votes from viewers, as on ”Idol.”)

Unlike on the original ”Star Search,” where winners kept returning every week until they lost to newcomers, the competition would be conducted tournament style, with winners from different weeks competing against each other and a winner-take-all finale at the end of the series’ initial run. Prizes will consist of some combination of cash and talent contracts.

Producer Andrew Golder (”Win Ben Stein’s Money”), told Variety that it made sense to greenlight a new ”Star Search” after the success of ”Idol” but insisted that the premise was original. ”The success of ‘American Idol’ made bringing back ‘Star Search’ easier,” he said. ”Hopefully, the public will embrace the new ‘Star Search’ with a sense of nostalgia and recognize it was there first. Even the full title of ‘American Idol’ — ‘The Search for a Superstar’ recognizes ‘American Idol’ is a godson of ‘Star Search.”’

CBS plans to hold open auditions in 10 cities over the next three months to find the first set of contenders. The network may also have to audition a new host, as producers say that 79-year-old Ed McMahon will not be involved.

Star Search
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