CBS Closing In On Music Competition Series ’50 States To Stardom’ From Brian Grazer, Ron Howard & Simon Cowell

Nellie Andreeva
·2 min read

EXCLUSIVE: CBS is jumping back into the music competition reality arena in a big way, teaming with top producers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Simon Cowell on 50 States To Stardom.

I hear the network is in advanced discussions with Grazer and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Cowell’s SyCo Entertainment for the project, billed as “the next big music competition series.”

Blending music competition and documentary formats, 50 States To Stardom aims at discovering great emerging talent from every part of the country. Filmed in a TV studio and in the field, over the course of a season, the series will profile each state across the U.S. and its up-and-coming artists. Using immersive and cinematic styles, the series tell the backstories and reveal the stakes for featured contestants.

The field of contestants will be narrowed down one act from each state, culminating in an epic showcase that will determine the country’s new breakout talent. Alongside a panel of judges, viewers across America will vote for their favorite performer.

From high school theaters to renowned music halls, back bars of restaurants to county fairgrounds, the series looks to illuminate a cross section of America – culling together the diverse array of musical genres and performance styles that span the nation.

Executive producing 50 States To Stardom are Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Samie Kim Falvey and Justin Wilkes for Imagine Entertainment alongside Simon Cowell and Richard Wallace for SyCo Entertainment

The long-gestating Eurovision U.S. offshoot, American Song Contest, which does not have a network home yet, is supposed to feature musical artists and bands from each of the 50 states and across every musical genre, to perform all original songs on a live televised event.

This marks the biggest foray into reality TV for Imagine TV, which has incorporated music into its scripted series, including Empire, Wu-Tang: An American Saga and the upcoming Genius: Aretha. Imagine, which has a first-look deal with CBS, also has done music documentaries, such as The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. The company, whose previous reality TV effort was the competition series The Great Escape, currently hasWu-Tang: An American Saga on Hulu, Filthy Rich on Fox and Genius: Aretha on NetGeo.

Cowell helped establish the music competition reality genre in the U.S. as the star judge on Fox’s American Idol. He went on to create and executive produce America’s Got Talent, on which he is currently a judge. Cowell is behind the Got Talent and X-Factor franchises, two of the biggest talent competition formats in the world.

CBS previously ventured into the music competition arena with the 2019 The World’s Best, from executive producers Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell.

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