'Nashville Star' Retooled For New Season

Without revealing specifics, the producers of USA Network's "Nashville Star" are planning changes for the country music talent contest's 2005 season.

Without revealing specifics, the producers of USA Network's "Nashville Star" are planning changes for the country music talent contest's 2005 season.

"We're going to shake things up when we bring 'Nashville Star' back for a third season," says USA executive vice president/original programming Jeff Wachtel. "We're adding a few twists to the format that will heighten the competition and make a great show even better."

"'Nashville Star' is going to reflect what's happening on today's country music scene," adds USA vice president/alternative programming Libby Hansen. "It's young and fun and we want our cast and the show to be the same."

Not unlike its pop counterpart "American Idol," the series has turned its winners into bonafide country stars. First season winner Buddy Jewell's self-titled, Clint Black-produced Columbia debut bowed at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart in July 2003 and has sold 509,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Second season winner Brad Cotter's Epic debut, "Patient Man," netted a No. 4 entry on the Country Albums tally, and has moved more than 141,000 copies since its release in July of this year.

Auditions for the third-season of "Nashville Star" will kick off Monday (Oct. 25) in Long Beach, Calif. The national casting call will visit 18 U.S. cities and make one Canadian stop in Calgary through early December. Full audition details, including videotape submissions and a list of approved cover songs, can be found at the show's Web site.

Here are the "Nashville Star" audition dates and locations:

Oct. 25: Long Beach, Calif.
Oct. 26: Bakersfield, Calif.
Oct. 28: Reno, Nev.
Nov. 12: Hartford, Conn.
Nov. 13: Calgary, Alberta
Nov. 14: Chicago
Nov. 16: Memphis
Nov. 16: Salt Lake City
Nov. 18: Charlotte, N.C.
Nov. 19: Kansas City, Mo.
Nov. 19: Little Rock, Ark.
Nov. 19: Tulsa, Okla.
Nov. 21: Nashville
Nov. 22: Branson, Mo.
Nov. 22: Detroit
Nov. 26: Tallahassee, Fla.
Nov. 29: Austin, Texas
Dec. 3: Mobile, Ala.
Dec. 10: Lafayette, La.