Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Convention Center
to host new
‘Star Search’

The prime-time TV
talent show will start Hawaii
production in August

By Tim Ryan


The Hawaii Convention Center is the stage for a new, prime-time talent show that begins four weeks of production in Honolulu in August and will be broadcast nationally beginning this fall on the family-friendly PAX TV Network.

The network has ordered 25 episodes of the new series designed after the 1980s hit syndicated show,"Star Search," from comedian and television executive Byron Allen, president of CF Entertainment Inc., and Al Masini, chairman and chief executive officer of Al Masini Productions.

The yet-to-be named variety hour will run for a guaranteed 52 weeks, reaching 400 million U.S. viewers. It will be part of an expanded fall lineup of six original shows on PAX TV, the seventh and newest national network, Masini said.

Titles being considered are: "Today's New Stars," "Destination Stardom" and "Star Machine."

State officials announced at a news conference today at the Convention Center that the show will be videotaped in the center's exhibit hall before a studio audience of as many as 400 from Aug. 5 to Sept. 5, and will begin airing starting Aug. 23.

Performers will vie for prizes in seven categories ranging from vocalists to family acts. Winners will be selected from each show and whittled down for a final competition that will be shown live from Hawaii, at a site to be determined, during the week of Feb. 21, 2000. Winners in each category will receive $50,000, plus career contracts and a starring role in a PAX TV weekly series for next season.

"The talent show will be a competition that is sure to serve as the career launching pad for many of the new millennium's hottest talents," Allen said yesterday.

Masini, who with wife, April, is largely responsible for bringing "Baywatch" and "Pacific Blue" to film here, said the new series "promises to provide a uniquely wonderful opportunity to showcase the beauty of Hawaii, again, on weekly network television."

"Talent shows have been popular over many generations, enjoying long, successful runs in broadcasting by reflecting the music, comedy, style and tastes of that era," Masini said.

A series of successful radio and TV talent shows including "Major Bowes" (1934-1946), "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour" (22-year run, 1948-1970), "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" (1948-1958) and "Star Search" (1981-1994), precede this latest production, Masini said.

The PAX talent show will feature Hawaii from the opening montage of island scenes and the Hawaii Convention Center to music videos featuring "Cover Girl" models on location on Oahu and the neighbor islands, Masini said. The producer said he also plans to ensure that local technical talent is trained and used so they may be employed in future productions in the islands.

The prime time series is expected to employ as many as 75 Hawaii residents, Masini said.

Masini's "Star Search" ran for 13 years in syndication, from 1981 to 1994.

Many of the key people who worked with Masini on "Star Search" will work on the PAX TV series, including Sam Riddle, president of Riddle/Weinstock, who is supervising producer on the project.

Riddle said the spaciousness of the exhibit hall and adjacent meeting rooms make the Hawaii Convention Center "the perfect place" to stage the show and house temporary offices for the production team.

Another feature designed to boost the show's value to the state is the producers' plan to conduct a national talent search in major television markets. Producers also will contact radio stations in major media markets across the country to be a part of the national talent search, Allen said. Hawaii will be a big part of that promotion because producers intend to offer Hawaii vacations to help bring the talent here to perform on the show, he said.

Home audiences can help select the winners by voting through the Internet, and the studio audience will cast their votes electronically in the Convention Center, Masini said. Viewers may enter a weekly contest in which they pick the performer who will be the winner of each week's show and possibly win a vacation in Hawaii, he said.

The original "Star Search" discovered several major stars, including Sinbad, Sharon Stone, Dennis Miller, LeAnn Rimes, Rosie O'Donnell, Jenny Jones, Sawyer Brown, Linda Eder, Alanis Morissette, Martin Lawrence, Tatyana Ali and Ty Herndon, Masini said.

Production crews will move into the Convention Center on July 18 to begin preparations for the series.

A national talent search will pick entertainers to perform in each of the show's seven categories: male vocalists, female vocalists, juniors (singers and dancers), families (singers and dancers), variety (magicians, novelty, and dance), comedians and models.

The budget is expected to be no more than about $262,000 a show or $6.6 million for the series.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin