COUNTRY MUSIC ICON RANDY OWEN OF ALABAMA AND COUNTRY STAR BLAKE SHELTON JOIN ANASTASIA BROWN AS JUDGES FOR SEASON 5 OF Nashville Star PRESENTED BY SONIC


Jewel to Host with Cowboy Troy Returning as Co-Host; Show Premieres on its New Night: Thursday, January 11 at 10/9C

NASHVILLE, TN -- November 1, 2006 -- Over 20,000 singers auditioned nationwide over the past few months and thousands more submitted themselves via tape for USA's hit talent search Nashville Star. As the selection narrows to find the final 10 that will be part of the show's fifth season premiere on Thursday, January 11 (10/9C), Grammy Award winner Randy Owen and country star Blake Shelton have joined seasons three and four judge Anastasia Brown in the show's panel of judges. The announcement was made today by Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president, original programming, USA Network.

"We've created the perfect panel of judges for season five," says Wachtel. "Anastasia brings continuity from the previous seasons and is the hot industry insider who isn't afraid to speak her mind, Blake is the young, witty country newcomer who has amassed tremendous success in a short period of time and Randy is country royalty with credibility, knowledge and experience."

As the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and principle songwriter, Randy Owen led the famed super group Alabama from humble beginnings playing for tips in coastal North Carolina bars to the band's 2005 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. With a career that to date has resulted in 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums and 42 No. 1 singles, Alabama has received over 150 industry awards including 8 country music "Entertainer of the Year" honors, 2 Grammys, 2 People's Choice Awards and their very own star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame." They were named the "Artist of the Decade" by the Academy of Country Music in 1989 and "Country Group of the Century" by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999. They have racked up sales of over 73 million records worldwide, making them the ninth biggest selling group of all time, ahead of such rock greats as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Queen, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and The Who. The band recently released Alabama - Songs of Inspiration which garnered a record 41,000 orders in a single hour on shopping giant QVC.

Country star Blake Shelton, whose debut single "Austin" occupied the top of the charts for five straight weeks, set the stage for a very steady and successful career. Since "Austin," Blake has been a mainstay on country radio and video outlets with a number of number one singles including "The Baby" and "Some Beach." Along with this success, he has sold over 2 million records and has set recording breaking concert tours with Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts, to name a few. Currently gearing up for the release of his fourth album on Warner Bros. Records, Shelton's lead off single and video "Don't Make Me" is currently moving up the charts. Additionally, Shelton has received numerous CMA and ACM nominations and was named Top New Male Artist by Billboard Magazine and Breakthrough Artist of the Year by R&R.

A leading music industry expert, Anastasia Brown started her music career as Miles Copeland's partner in spearheading the operations for Firstars Nashville where she discovered, developed and secured major label record deals, as well as the agency representation for Keith Urban. She also worked with artists ranging from Sting and Peter Frampton, to John Berry and Junior Brown. After making her mark in Nashville, Brown expanded her horizons to Hollywood and is now partnered with media entrepreneur & movie producer Eric Geadelmann in 821 Entertainment Group, a media, entertainment and technology holding company that she serves as President of with divisions in motion picture development & production, recorded music, publishing and supervisory services and digital distribution.

For its fifth season premiere in January 2007, Nashville Star will become the longest-running competition series on cable television. As previously announced, Jewel will serve as host and Cowboy Troy as co-host.

The first four seasons of the series have launched the careers of promising artists including Chris Young, Buddy Jewell, Miranda Lambert and Erika Jo. Jewell debuted his self-titled CD at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and was eventually certified gold by the RIAA. Runner-up Miranda Lambert became a household name when her "Kerosene" became the highest-selling debut album of 2005 and then went on to be certified gold as well. Erika Jo landed at No. 5 on the same chart with her self-titled debut CD and at No. 27 on the Hot 200 Album Chart (all genres). Most recently, Chris Young debuted his self-entitled CD at #3 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, making him the top selling debut male artist of 2006.

Nashville Star will continue to be broadcast live from the Acuff Theatre in Nashville.

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