Blake Shelton’s coaching gig on The Voice gave his career a boost and, in turn, his wisecracks from the big red chair helped the show rack up ratings. The singing competition, which wrapped its second season on May 8 with a win by Jermaine Paul from team Blake, is so popular that NBC is bringing it back this fall for two nights per week. Ratings for the season finale were up 16 percent over last year, averaging about 11.6 million viewers.
NBC believes so strongly in its hit series that this fall the network will use the singing competition as a lead-in for three new shows. The Monday night installment of The Voice will precede The Revolution, a sci-fi series from Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams, and the Tuesday night episode will lead to new comedies Go On, starring Matthew Perry, and The New Normal.
“We believe in [The Voice],” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told Ad Age, dismissing the notion that there are too many singing/entertainment competition shows on television. “There is a lot of room for all of us to succeed. People were saying, ‘Oh, American Idol is over this year.’ It’s certainly not over. There is a big appetite for all of these shows.”
If that’s the case, viewers will likely eat up ABC’s new offering Duets, featuring Sugarland star Jennifer Nettles and set for a two-hour series premiere Thurs., May 24. Nettles joins fellow stars Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Robin Thicke who individually scoured the country for duet partners. The stars and their protégés will take the stage together each week in front of a live studio audience. Quddus, best known from his days on MTV’s Total Request Live, will host. The winner will receive a contract with Hollywood Records.
With prior appearances on NBC’s Nashville Star, CMT’s Gone Country and a win on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice, John Rich will return to television this summer on The CW Network. He will join Gloria Estefan and other yet-to-be named mentors on The Star Next Door, a nationwide music competition series from Queen Latifah. The mentors will travel to the hometowns of new talent to prepare them for the chance to represent their home cities live onstage. No premiere date has been set.
Adding to the country music mix on TV, yesterday MusicRow reported that ABC has picked up the new series Nashville and Malibu Country, starring Reba.
In related news, Britney Spears and teen star Demi Lovato will join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on Fox’s The X Factor this fall.