Convinced of the popularity of singing competition shows, the Tegna station group this fall is launching one of its own, albeit with a decidedly local — and interactive — twist.
Sing Like a Star, a weekly show that debuts Sept. 16 in 33 Tegna markets, is at this point centered around New Orleans, home of Tegna’s CBS affiliate, WWL.
Arthel Neville, a member of the city’s famed musical family, will host the show. Whoever wins the competition will perform at a New Orleans music festival, as well as record a debut album. Portions of the show, which is being produced at WWL, will be shot at locations around the city, Tegna senior VP of programming Bob Sullivan said.
Sing Like a Star, which is co-produced by New Orleans-based Quark Entertainment, also has a big interactive component. Singers post auditions via the StarMaker app. Each week, the three contestants with the most votes appear on the show, during which they will be ranked by judges — the musicians Terrance Simien, Marc Broussard and Kristin Diable. The top scoring weekly winners advance to finals.
This season’s launch, however, could be the start of a larger, more locally focused initiative across the group, one that ultimately leads to a multitude of Sing Like a Star versions across the country.
“The idea is to take it to another Tegna market if it works in New Orleans,” Sullivan said. Being a market-focused show is a key differentiator between Sing Like a Star and long-running national competitions, such as The Voice and America’s Got Talent.
It also reflects Tegna’s ongoing effort to launch the breadth of locally focused programming, which include the launch of two other new shows this fall — Daily Blast Live, an interactive daily strip produced by KUSA Denver, and Sister Circle, a daily talker targeting African-American women broadcast from WATL Atlanta.
“It’s the localism,” Sullivan said. “We are really trying to localize our content whether it’s in news, news transformation or programming out of my group to play more to the audiences in our markets.”
Univision Taps the Radio Stars
As part of its new fall programming rollout, Univision is increasingly tapping its radio stations to find TV talent, particularly for shows on its UniMás network.
In August, the network launched two UniMás shows helmed by popular radio hosts.
Cuéntame Más (Tell Me More in English), a new weekly show that will air across the group, will be co-hosted by Jesse Lechuga, a longtime radio host at Univision’s San Antonio station. His co-host will be Carolina Vela, a reporter at Univision’s San Antonio TV station, KWEX, from which the show will originate.
Alberto Sardiñas, the midday personality on WAMR, Univision’s Miami radio station, has been tapped to host El News Café, the new morning show airing on the city’s UniMás station, WAMI.
They join two other Univision radio personalities who made the switch to TV earlier this year. Joel Santiago and Nany Sánchez have been hosting UniMás station WFUT New York’s entertainment show Viernes y Más (Friday and More in English) since March.
Chris Peña, Univision’s senior VP of local news, said leveraging Univision talent across platforms “is the natural evolution” of integrating the company’s television and radio properties.
“By launching programs like Viernes y Más in New York, El News Café in Miami and Cuéntame Más, which is produced in San Antonio but airs on UniMás stations nationwide, we are able to bring the amazing talents of our local radio and television personalities to new audiences; and UniMás is the perfect place to do that,” Peña said.
Talent is just one of the resources Univision is sharing in producing content, an increasingly popular practice among station groups producing shows with both local interest and national reach. For instance, lifestyle show Cuéntame Más will feature segments produced by Univision stations across the country.
“This type of investment further reinforces Univision’s commitment to creating original and compelling programming for local audiences,” Peña said.