Universal signs on for integration with YTV’s Next Star

Corus Entertainment has taken on a music industry partner for its new summer series, and the company is pushing forward with voting by text message on more than one net this month.

Universal Music Canada has signed on to support YTV’s summer series The Next Star and will release an album named after the show following its September finale. The 13-ep show, which premieres July 18 in the 6 pm time slot, gives six participants aged 15 and under the chance to win a recording contract by competing in vocal exercises, media interviews and other aspects of the life of a star.

Universal’s involvement in the show will also include some integration, as the company will promote the summer release of Suzy McNeil’s first single, ‘Let’s Go,’ from the artist’s upcoming fall album. The song will be used as the opening theme for the show. Universal says it has a 38.5% market share in Canada.

Series producer Phil Hutchins of Tricon Films & Television says, ‘Universal has a proven track record for nurturing great artists, and we’re excited about the mentorship they’ll give to The Next Star.’

In addition to engaging viewers with an online voting component of the show, YTV will invite votes by text message. The winner of the most votes will get their single included on YTV’s Big Fun Party Mix 10, plus a professional music video and personal guidance from music industry hit-makers.

Another Corus Entertainment property (shared with Cosmopolitan magazine publisher Hearst Corporation) is also integrating text-voting into its strategy for engaging viewers.

CosmoTV revealed the top 12 finalists for its nationwide Bachelor Search during an ep of Oh So Cosmo, and the net’s now launching a public voting phase that lets users vote online at www.cosmotv.ca or by text message, if they’re willing to put up a 50-cent fee. The net will also publish a 2009 CosmoTV Bachelor Search calendar.

The contest was promoted on-air and in print for months. It drew ‘hundreds of submissions,’ says Corus Entertainment, between Jan. 5 and March 29. Viewers were invited to rate the men online. The public voting phase ends on May 28. Oh So Cosmo, the net’s flagship Wednesday 9 pm series, is profiling the finalists and will announce the winning bachelor in June.