Season 3 of YTV's hit talent series The Next Star premieres Monday, July 19
at 7 p.m. ET/PT

    
         Over 4000 young Canadian hopefuls auditioned to make the Top 16
        www.YTV.com is centre stage for fan interaction, exclusive content,
               voting and a chance to be The Virtual Next Star
    

TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - After a cross-Canada search where over 4000 talented Canadian kids showed up to audition, Corus Entertainment's YTV delivers its popular top-rated talent series The Next Star beginning on Monday, July 19 at 7 p.m. In its third season, families at home can once again join in to witness the entertaining journey unfold from audition process through to the live finale, which has been known to host stars like heartthrob Justin Bieber.

"After seeing our audition turnout double in May, and with over one million votes cast to determine the Season 2 winner last fall, The Next Star continues to grow in popularity at an outstanding rate," said Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Production, Corus Kids. "With our returning host Adamo Ruggiero, the expertise from our esteemed panel of judges and special guests, we are excited for audiences to join us again to determine who will be the next young star."

Produced by leading Toronto distributor and producer Tricon Films and Television in association with YTV, the first three episodes take place during the nationwide audition period and feature hopefuls aged 15 and under as they try to make it to the next round. Sixteen aspiring singers continue to participate in episodes four and five with six finalists chosen to be mentored throughout the remaining seven episodes. All six are challenged in every aspect of the biz from vocal exercises to participating in media interviews to perfecting a signature look. The six finalists will also record an original song that will be released on a compilation album. Only one of the six will become The Next Star and receive the grand prize package at the series' finale on Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. live from Canada's Wonderland.

Modelled after the previous two seasons, viewers will vote for their favourite performer via www.YTV.com and text message. The finalist with the most viewer votes will become The Next Star and take home the coveted prize package which includes: Kool-Aid Jammers Ultimate Jam Space featuring an Apple Macbook and Pro Tools recording software, a distribution deal with Universal Music Canada for the winner's two songs, and a Songwriter Deluxe Acoustic Guitar courtesy of Gibson Guitar.

Beginning on Monday, July 19 through to Monday, August 9, YTV is giving fans another chance at stardom with The Virtual Next Star. Eligible participants can log onto www.YTV.com for a chance to be crowned The Virtual Next Star and win a trip to Toronto and two VIP tickets to the series' live finale at Canada's Wonderland on Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. ET. The prize includes: one round trip economy flight to Toronto for the winner and a parent or guardian, three nights standard accommodation and $500 CDN.

Once the series has launched on Monday, July 19 at 7 p.m., The Next Star website, found at www.YTV.com, will once again be centre stage for audience interaction, full length episodes and the voting process. Beginning on Tuesday, August 10 until Sunday, September 26, as viewers cast their votes, they can be included in a draw to win the Kool-Aid Jammers Ultimate Jam Space featuring an Apple Macbook and Pro Tools recording software - everything one would need to have their own recording session at home.

Viewers will also be able to find show info, surf finalist pages, download extra content and watch exclusive behind the scenes footage on www.YTV.com. They can also join the community of fans through The Next Star message boards and sign up to receive a The Next Star newsletter which will feature breaking news and show developments. www.YTV.com will also grant fans special VIP access to additional content online when they tune into the show and receive a special code. If fans think they're the biggest Next Star fan, they can also login to participate in the Think You Know The Show Contest for a shot at a cash prize of $2,000 CDN.

The Next Star is pleased to have partnered with Kool-Aid Jammers and Hilroy through on-air billboards, product integration, as well as online. Additional partners include official make-up provider Joe Fresh and Big Foot by The Allan Candy Company Limited, who will be sampling to live studio audiences.

About the mentors:

Award-winning singer, Suzie McNeil, performed her Olympic-inspired song "Believe" at the 2010 Olympics closing ceremonies. Hot on the heels of a Canadian tour with superstar, Colin James, she recently released her third album, Suzie McNeil - Live Acoustic. JUNO Award-winning composer and MuchMusic's first VJ, Christopher Ward, has written a number of chart-topping singles including Black Velvet for Alannah Myles and most recently penned songs for Cirque du Soleil's Banana Shpeel. It was Steve Cranwell's 23 years of experience in music marketing that led to the newest chapter of his life, Executive Director of MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity.

Tricon Films & Television is one of North America's strongest independent production and distribution companies dedicated to producing and representing groundbreaking television. Tricon has fast emerged as a leading supplier of high quality factual and scripted content that continues to perform successfully both domestically and around the world. Launched in 2002, Tricon's distribution arm has an impressive track record of selling a broad mix of award winning programming from primetime scripted comedy and dramatic series, to reality, lifestyle, factual and documentary series.

Seen in over 10.5 million homes across Canada, YTV is a leading entertainment brand for kids. As a major force in kids' television, YTV offers great programming for kids and families with hit Nickelodeon series, blockbuster movies and original Canadian programming. YTV reaches kids online at www.YTV.com and in local communities with the travelling road show WOW!. Visit www.ytv.com.

YTV is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc., a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising services, television broadcasting, children's book publishing and children's animation. The company's multimedia entertainment brands include YTV, Treehouse, Nickelodeon (Canada), W Network, CosmoTV, VIVA, Sundance Channel (Canada), Movie Central, HBO Canada, Nelvana, Kids Can Press and radio stations including CKNW, CFOX, CKOI, 98,5 FM, Q107 and 102.1 the Edge. Corus creates engaging branded entertainment experiences for its audiences across multiple platforms. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York (CJR) exchanges. Experience Corus on the web at www.corusent.com.

All YTV times are ET/PT.

For high-resolution images, please visit: http://mediacentre.corusent.com

SOURCE News - Media

For further information: For further information: Molly Ray, Corus Entertainment, 416.479.6087, molly.ray@corusent.com; Anne Vranic, Holmes Creative Communications, 416.628.5606, avranic@hccink.com

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