"Glee" was rewarded with five Golden Globe nominations this morning, which is encouraging for the other billion singing shows coming to a television near you in 2011. Two networks are really invested in the crooning craze: Fox, who presents "Glee," "American Idol," "America's Got Talent," and Simon Cowell's new import, "The X Factor" (debuting fall 2011), and NBC, who is having a surprising amount of success with the current season of a cappella throwdown "The Sing-Off."
NBC is so jazzed about singing, it's teaming with reality-TV guru Mark Burnett -- the man responsible for bringing reality competition into millions of American homes with "Survivor" -- to develop "The Voice of America" for spring 2011. Burnett and John de Mol ("Big Brother") will be adapting the latter's "The Voice of Holland," what's hailed as the top-rated show in Netherlands history.
According to Billboard, " 'The Voice' has a panel of four coaches who also have careers as popular performing artists," which means Burnett is in the market for four new hires. The coaches listen to the singers blindly -- so nobody skates by on the strength of her bikini -- and then mentor the contestants they've selected. Each coaches' singers perform as a team, and then viewers vote for their favorites.
In a very bold move, "The Voice of America" is set to go head-to-head with "Idol," who better hope Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez can bring enough crazy to bring back its viewers. Season Nine winner Lee Dewyze just earned the dubious distinction of selling fewer records than any previous "Idol" winner. Interscope honcho Jimmy Iovine, who's the show's new "mentor," clearly doesn't want to be humiliated. He's already helped recruit producers responsible for actual current hits to work with the contestants during Hollywood Week: according to EW, the list includes Tricky Stewart, Alex da Kid, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Polow da Don, and Jim Jonsin. That crew has made some of the biggest hits of the past few years -- Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," Lady Gaga's "Telephone," Usher's "Love in This Club," and T.I.'s "Whatever You Like," respectively, to name just a few.
Notice anything about that list of hits, by the way? Like, that none of them are rock songs? Not too surprising considering how the charts have tipped in '10 -- and reality TV hasn't been kind to shows that try to feature full bands. Remember "The Next Great American Band"? We hope not. Reality TV may be able to rescue part of the music biz -- for a little while, at least -- but rock & roll is still in the market for a life raft.
[Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com]
- Mark Burnett