If you can't develop your own singing superstar, develop your own singing laughingstock.
That's the theory behind The WB's Superstar USA, premiering Monday, May 17. Executive produced by Mike Fleiss, who also does The WB's High School Reunion and ABC's The Bachelor, says the show has already been shot, though in "complete secrecy."
Was the seres an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of American Idol's loser/winner William Hung. Apparently not. Fleiss says it has been in the works since last year. Still, the timing is at least fortuitous.
Superstar USA's secrecy extends to the contestants, who Fleiss says didn't know the huge joke that was being played on them.
A parody of Fox's American Idol, Superstar USA mocks and insults the really talented singers and sends them home, while the bad singers remain. The "last one standing" wins $100,000 and a recording contract, although whether a record will ever get made remains to be seen. "This show will certainly strike a whole new chord with audiences and is sure to get people talking," Fleiss predicts. "The fact that we are able to perpetrate a hoax of this magnitude with thousands of people for more than a month is absolutely incredible."
The seven-episode series will be hosted by former MTV vee-jay Brian (rhymes with Ryan, get it?) McFayden, with Rapper Tone-Loc, pop star Vitamin C and TV producer Chris Briggs (in the Simon Cowell role) as judges.