Universal South Records has signed on as the partner for the third season of USA Networks' country music reality series "Nashville Star." The label will provide a recording contract to the winner.

Universal South Records has signed on as the partner for the third season of USA Networks' country music reality series "Nashville Star." The label will provide a recording contract to the winner.

Sony Music Nashville was the label partner for the first two seasons, signing 2003 winner Buddy Jewell to Columbia and 2004 winner Brad Cotter to Epic. Sony also eventually signed 2003's third-place contestant, Miranda Lambert, to Epic. While not a partner with the show in the past, Universal South did sign last year's second-place contestant, George Canyon.

In other "Nashville Star" news, Arista Nashville artist Phil Vassar will be this season's celebrity judge. The show had Charlie Robison as a judge in its first season and the Warren Brothers last year.

Also new as a judge this year is artist manager Anastasia Brown. She heads up 821 Music Group in Nashville and is partners with Eric Geadlemann in the 821 Entertainment Group. Brown, who also works as a music supervisor for film and television projects, is the wife of Universal South senior partner Tony Brown. Her current film project is the Quentin Tarantino feature "Daltry Calhoun," being produced for Miramax.

Comedian Cledus T. Judd will serve as a correspondent for the show and will provide commentary.

As previously reported, LeAnn Rimes replaces "Access Hollywood's" Nancy O'Dell as the show's host this year. The third season premieres March 1 at 10-11 p.m. (ET/PT) on USA Networks.