Canada will be looking for its own Kelly Clarkson when CTV launches a spin-off of the hugely popular "American Idol" series, set to premiere in 2003. Dubbed "Canadian Idol," the show will bow followin

Canada will be looking for its own Kelly Clarkson when CTV launches a spin-off of the hugely popular "American Idol" series, set to premiere in 2003. Dubbed "Canadian Idol," the show will bow following the completion of the second season of "American Idol," which is slated to air early next year on Fox. Auditions will be conducted in several major Canadian cities, and the series, presented by CTV and FremantleMedia/19TV, will follow the same format as "American Idol."

The winner will be selected by viewers from a group of 10 finalists, and receive a recording contract with an as-yet-unnamed label. "American Idol" itself is a spin-off of the U.K.'s "Pop Idol," from which franchises have also cropped up in South Africa and Poland.

Similarly, back in the states, the USA Network, in conjunction with the Universal Music Group and television production company Reveille, is planning "Nashville Star," a country twist on the "American Idol" theme. Finalists will be tested in country bars and at fairs, singing a variety of honky-tonk styles, and a winner will be chosen in Nashville by a panel of industry insiders, country musicians, and fans. The show is being prepped for the first or second quarter of 2003.

Already underway, NBC's "Today" is conducting its search for "Today's Superstar." The morning show is encouraging viewers to send in videotape demos by the Oct. 21 deadline to qualify for the month-long November competition. One of six finalists will perform live on "Today" and win a recording session with Warner Bros. For more information, visit the show's official Web site.

As previously reported, "American Idol" finalist Tamyra Gray recently signed a record deal with "Pop Idol" creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings, and a licensing agreement with RCA. A single is expected in December in the U.S., with a full album due next year. In addition to Clarkson, finalist Nikki McKibbin and runner-up Justin Guarini have also secured deals with the label.

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