NBC is set to celebrate America, its communities, athletes, songs, heroes, talent and Gladiators all summer long as part of "NBC's All-American Summer" - the network's run-up to its exclusive coverage of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The network will ignite a late spring and summer of original programming paced by the premieres of series favorites American Gladiators (Monday, May 12, 8-10 p.m. ET), America's Got Talent (Tuesday, June 24, 9-11 p.m. ET), Last Comic Standing (Thursday, May 22, 9:30-11 p.m. ET) and the network debut of Nashville Star with new host Billy Ray Cyrus (Monday, June 9, 9:30-11 p.m. ET).
In addition, NBC will unveil the new suspense and horror anthology series Fear Itself on Thursday, May 29, 10-11 p.m. ET, as well as two new alternative series Celebrity Circus (Wednesday, June 11, 9-11 p.m. ET) and The Baby Borrowers (Wednesday, June 25, 8-9 p.m. ET).
The announcements were made today by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
"NBC's All-American Summer" will kick off with the return of the high-octane hit American Gladiators which will follow its May 12 premiere by settling into its regular day and time on Monday, May 19 (8-9:30 p.m. ET). Likewise, America's Got Talent will follow its June 24 debut with another two-hour episode on Tuesday, July 1 (9-11 p.m. ET) and then subsequently follow with hour-long episodes beginning July 8 (9-10 p.m. ET). The series will take a brief hiatus during the Summer Olympics and return August 26 (performance episodes) and "results shows" will begin starting August 27 (8-9 p.m. ET).
After its two-hour premiere, Celebrity Circus will resume in its regular day and time on Wednesday, June 18 (9-10 p.m. ET). Following its May 22 debut, Last Comic Standing will settle into its regular day and time on Thursday, May 29 (8:30-10 p.m. ET).
American Gladiators is the #1 new series on the NBC schedule this season in adults 18-49 and total viewers, with its average of a 4.2 rating, 11 share in 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers overall. The series won its Monday time period in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 and all key adult-male categories. For the first quarter to date, American Gladiators is the #1 Monday series on any network in the coveted adults 18-34 demo.
Hulk Hogan (Hogan Knows Best) and Laila Ali (Dancing with the Stars) host the hit iconic competition series, which first premiered in January with a fresh modern reinvention for the 21st century. Using splashy twists including special effects, water skills and the latest technology, the classic games have been upgraded with even higher thrills, impact, energy and spectacle. Celebrating the everyday, true American heroes -- weekend warriors who excel and take pride in their physical fitness -- contenders go up against the show's Gladiators, charismatic and eclectic warriors -- in the ultimate David & Goliath battle. The series includes such classic events as Joust, The Wall, Hang Tough, Powerball, Assault, Pyramid, Gauntlet and the Eliminator along with two brand-new events including Earthquake and Hit & Run. New events and new Gladiators will be unveiled this spring.
American Gladiators is produced by MGM Television (the original producers of the show) and Reveille (NBC's The Office and The Biggest Loser, Nashville Star, Ugly Betty). Reveille's Mark Koops, Howard T. Owens and David A. Hurwitz (Fear Factor) are the executive producers alongside Flor-Jon, Films Inc.'s Johnny Ferraro, original series creator.
America's Got Talent, NBC's hit summer series from American Idol producers FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell's SYCO Television, is currently crisscrossing America hitting Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York as part of a nationwide search for the hottest performers in the country to compete in the blockbuster reality show's third season.
A colorful array of hopeful stars, including singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists jugglers, magicians and ventriloquists of all ages strut and perform on stage in front of celebrity judges David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne. New this season, thousands of people have been invited to attend the audition tapings at some of the largest theaters in the country, where they will judge the acts along with the show's judges, giving America a voice right from the beginning of the competition.
Terry Fator, a ventriloquist from Dallas, Texas achieved the dream of a lifetime last August when he was crowned the second season champion. Not only did he win the $1,000,000 grand prize, but his dream to headline on the Las Vegas strip came true when he signed a 2008 contract with the Las Vegas Hilton in a deal worth more than $1.5 million.
America's Got Talent, hosted by Jerry Springer, was last year's #1 summer series in total viewers, averaging 11.4 million persons. The finale on August 21 garnered 4.2 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 13.9 million viewers overall - a new series record in total viewers, with a 16 percent increase over its finale the year before.
America's Got Talent is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell's SYCO Televison. Cowell, Cecile Frot-Coutaz (American Idol), Jason Raff, James Sunderland and Georgie Hurford-Jones are executive producers.
NBC's lively laugh fest Last Comic Standing returns for a sixth season with host Bill Bellamy (Def Comedy Jam, Any Given Sunday) and special correspondent/popular UK personality Fearne Cotton (NBC's The Guinness Book of World Records - Live!, ITV2's The Xtra Factor) stepping up the search for the funniest comedian on the planet!
Comedians from across the U.S. and 14 countries around the globe - including England, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, India, Japan and Israel - try out in lively audition episodes. But for the first time ever on the Emmy-nominated show, a revolving door of celebrity talent scouts - all past and present NBC comedy stars from shows like The Office, Scrubs, Mad About You and Cheers - will help "find the funny" as Last Comic Standing joins Thursday's comedy night lineup.
After the regional auditions comes fast-paced semi-final rounds, and then it's a comedy showdown week by week until the funniest is crowned Last Comic Standing, winning a $250,000 grand prize including an exclusive talent deal with NBC and a brand new Honda.
Last Comic Standing is produced by Peter Engel Productions and Universal Media Studios. The executive producers are Peter Engel (Saved by the Bell, The Next Best Thing: Who Is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator?), David Friedman (NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly) and Barry Katz (Action, Dane Cook's Tourgasm). Javier Winnik (NBC's The Great American Singing Bee), Page Hurwitz (Last Comic Standing) and Noel Guerra (Bravo's Project Runway) are co-executive producers.
Nashville Star is the original grassroots talent search to find America's next great country music star. The series' sixth season will premiere on NBC with new host Billy Ray Cyrus (Hannah Montana) with the winner receiving a major recording contract and the performance of a lifetime at the Summer Olympics in Beijing!
The first four seasons of the series have launched the careers of promising artists including Chris Young, Buddy Jewel, Miranda Lambert, Lance Miller and Angela and Zac Hacker -- the siblings who made it a family affair by coming in first and second respectively last season.
A massive multi-city casting search for this year's talent kicked off in early February and for the first time in the series' run, Nashville Star opened the auditions not just to solo artists but also to duets and singing groups who are primed to compete. Another first for the sixth season, in an attempt to find the best of the best, the competition will be open to singers 16-years and older. The 90-minute season premiere will take viewers behind the scenes and introduce them to the best and worst talent vying to be the next Nashville Star.
Nashville Star is created by Reveille and produced by 495 Productions. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens (American Gladiators), Mark Koops (The Biggest Loser) and Sallyann Salsano (HGTV Design Star, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila) serve as executive producers. Jon Small (Garth Brooks Live in LA) is a producer.
Fear Itself is a new, distinctive 13-episode suspense and horror anthology series set to push the boundaries of this classic genre through a host of provocative talent, both in front of and behind the camera, including award-winning, sought-after directors John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV) and Ronny Yu (Bride Of Chucky); actors Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Shiri Appleby (Charlie Wilson's War), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Cynthia Watros (Lost), Eric Roberts (NBC's Heroes) and John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise) and writers, including Joe Gangemi (Wind Chill, the novel "Inamorata"), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Dan Knauf (Carnivale, Supernatural).
The series is produced by Lionsgate in association with IE Indy TV, and was created by Mick Garris. The Emmy-winning team of Keith Addis and Andrew Deane (Masters of Horror) are the executive producers. Peter Block is co-executive producer; Grant Rosenberg is supervising producer; and Adam Goldworm, Ben Browning and Jonathan Hackett are producers.
Celebrity Circus is a spectacular live competition series that invites celebrities to participate alongside avant garde professional circus troupes in a visually arresting new competition series. The series will pit stars in a head-to-head competition, which will showcase some of the most death-defying circus acts ever seen on television. Each week viewers will cast their votes for the best acts, and determine which of the celebrities is going home. In every episode, the stars will be joined by electrifying performers from the world's greatest circus and cirque acts.
Guided by top experts in each of the individual circus disciplines, the stars will have eight weeks to train and perfect their acts. To perform at their best they will have to go beyond anything they have done before, pushing their bodies and minds to the limits. Presentation, style and the ability to create a unique character are all aspects on which the celebrities will be judged.
Celebrity Circus will follow the journey from the star's first frightening climb up the high wire ladder to the last nerve-wracking rehearsal. Then our celebrities will put it all on the line performing in our studio in front of a live audience. Our judges are experts from the finest circus and cirque shows in the world, and they will definitely let the celebrities know if their performances were up to snuff.
With stunning visuals, dramatic stories, and breathtaking stunts, Celebrity Circus brings this incredible world into America's living rooms like never before. Celebrity competitors and the expert panel of judges will be announced at a later date.
Celebrity Circus is produced by Endemol USA, the Emmy Award winning company behind Deal or No Deal, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Big Brother and Fear Factor. David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA. "Celebrity Circus" is executive produced by Matt Kunitz (Fear Factor) and co-executive produced by Rick Ringbakk (The Amazing Race).
NBC's new reality series The Baby Borrowers is an intriguing new social experiment based on the hit British program that asks five diverse teenage couples -- ages 18-20 -- to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents first to babies, toddlers, pre-teens and their pets, teenagers and senior citizens -- all over the course of three weeks.
Through this emotional, dramatic journey, each young couple will get a unique opportunity to peer into the future and see what they (and their partners) might be like if they remain together and decide to build a family. Tested by the everyday ups and downs of taking care of others and maintaining a relationship, most of the teens find themselves looking at all of their relationships and notions of parenthood in a new light.
The Baby Borrowers is produced by Love Productions. Richard McKerrow (the U.K.'s "Cirque de Celebrite") and Tom Shelly ("Survivor") are executive producers.
Following is a brief schedule of "NBC's All-American Summer" premiere dates (all times ET):
American Gladiators - two-hour premiere 8-10 p.m.; series resumes on May 19 (8-9:30)
Last Comic Standing - premiere 9:30-11 p.m.; series resumes on May 29 (8:30-10 p.m.)
Fear Itself - premiere 10-11 p.m.
Nashville Star - (9:30-11 p.m.)
Celebrity Circus - two-hour premiere (9-11 p.m.); series resumes on June 18 (9-10 p.m.)
America's Got Talent - (9-11 p.m.); another two-hour show follows on July 1. Series resumes with regular hour-long episodes on July 8 (9-10 p.m.). The show will be on hiatus during the Olympics, returning on August 26 (performance episodes) and "results shows" commencing on August 27 (8-9 p.m.)
The Baby Borrowers - (8-9 p.m.)