New season set for early 2005.

LeAnn Rimes has been tapped to host the third season of the USA Networks talent competition series "Nashville Star." She replaces "Access Hollywood" anchor Nancy O'Dell, who hosted the first two seasons this year and last year.

The new season will air in early 2005. A series of local-market auditions began this week in Long Beach, Calif., and continue through Dec. 1 in Dallas. The top contestants from the local auditions will head to regional competitions scheduled for Jan. 3-9, 2005, in Las Vegas, Austin, Baltimore and Nashville. The ultimate winner receives a major-label recording contract; however, Sony Music Nashville, which signed the winners of the first two seasons, has bowed out of the process this time around. No new label partner has been named.

The show will continue to broadcast from the BellSouth Acuff Theatre in Nashville.