TVBizwire

'Idol' Showrunner Nigel Lythgoe Unveils New Show TVWeek

Emmy-winning producer Nigel Lythgoe, whose resume already includes “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” has unveiled plans for a new talent competition show. “Opening Act,” set for a July 9 premiere on E!, will search the Web for a new artist to open for a music superstar.

Contestants will vie for a chance to open for Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz, Gym Class Heroes and other artists.

Mary J. Blige is on board as part of the team that will be selecting talent, along with producer Antonina Armato from Rock Mafia.

The network described the process this way: “There are no judges to woo, auditions to pass or rounds to win: Each band or solo act has only days to prepare after a surprise visit that presents them with an opportunity they never knew existed, and viewers follow them from obscurity to the big-time gig that could change their lives forever. A true first of its kind, ‘Opening Act’ will showcase not only some extraordinary, unknown talent, but the emotional and very personal journey that awaits them on their way to perform on a national stage.”

Conducting the surprise visits will be Olivia Lee, who is known for her hidden camera segments on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Contestants are “immediately brought to Hollywood for an extreme ‘performance boot camp,’ intense mentoring sessions with top industry heavyweights, and finally, the one-night-only performance that can make or break the career of their dreams,” the network said.

Said Lythgoe: "There is an extraordinary amount of untapped talent out there. But if you don't know the right people or have the right connections, you may never be discovered. With 'Opening Act,’ we are democratizing a notoriously impossible process, pulling back the curtains on a consistently fascinating industry, and affording aspiring artists the chance of a lifetime.”

The series is executive produced by Nigel Lythgoe, Steve Schnur, Simon Lythgoe, and Kary McHoul.