NBC Launching Web-Only Summer Series


NBC is getting into the Web-only series business with StarTomorrow, an interactive online music competition.

The 16-week talent search series, from music executive Tommy Mottola, is targeted for a summer launch that will "narrow" the field to 100 American bands (sorry, no future Beatles or Stones).

Calling it an important project for the network, Jeff Gaspin, president, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, Digital Content and Cross-Network Strategy, said: "We want to give consumers a new viewing experience and digital content enables us to give more scheduling and programming latitude to them, truly allowing viewers to create their own show."

Viewers/streamers will evaluate the bands and vote for their favorites, with the bands allowed to perform covers and originals, but with an increasing focus on original material as the series progresses.

The winner will get a record deal with Mottola's Casablanca label, which is a division of the Universal Music Group. Universal Music Group is owned 100%, as of Feb. 2, by Vivendi Universal, which also owns 20% of NBC Universal.

Executive producers of the winners show have mostly been involved with a Loser, as in NBC's Biggest Loser. They are Dave Broome (The Biggest Loser, Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope), JD Roth (Biggest Loser, For Love or Money), Todd Nelson (Biggest Loser, For Love or Money) John Foy ( Biggest Loser, For Love or Money), Mottola and associate Jeb Brien.

The show will go on the road for for regional talent searches-a la American Idol--but it is also currently accepting audition videos at StarTomorrow, 10061 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, California, 91602

An NBC spokesman did not have any details on whether or how NBC affiliate Web sites would participate in the online series, i.e., a link to the contest or participation in regional talent searches.

The markets for those searches have not yet been identified.