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April 29, 2009

CMT revives 'Singing Bee'

The Singing Bee is coming back -- but not to NBC.

The musical reality competition has found a new home on cable network CMT, which plans to relaunch the former broadcast series in the summer. 

CMT will premiere the show after its presentation of its annual CMT Awards on June 16, then will pair the one-hour series with its other singing competition show, Can You Duet, starting June 20.

CMT's head of development Bob Kusbit said the network was interested in the show from inception and lost the initial bidding war with NBC for the rights. NBC debuted the show in 2007, right before Fox premiered its similarly formatted Don’t Forget the Lyrics (in both shows, contestants try to complete the lyrics of popular songs). Bee opened stronger in the Nielsens, yet Lyrics won the ratings battle in the long haul, and NBC passed on a second season.

“We jumped at it,” Kusbit said. “To have had a launching pad like a network where it’s been out there in front of a lot of people, it’s great. It’s perfect for our audience coming here in the summer months.”

CMT is making some changes to the show’s format. Gone are the Bee dancers. The series will have a mix of 60% country, 40% other kinds of music. Ten episodes are ordered.

The network is near a deal on a host for the show. Bee is produced by The Gurin Company and Juma. Executive producers are Philip Gurin and Robert Horowitz, along with Bob Kusbit, John Hamlin and Claire McCabe. Co-Executive Producers are Brennan Huntington and Lewis Fenton.


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