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Nashville Star Partners with Universal South Records

With Phil Vassar and Leann Rimes

By

Copyright Jan Duke

LeAnn Rimes

Copyright Jan Duke
The producers of Nashville Star, USA Network's grassroots talent search series to find the next country music superstar, have named country music singer/songwriter Phil Vassar as a celebrity judge to join show host LeAnn Rimes for the third season, which will premiere on Tuesday, March 1, 2005, from 10:00 - 11:00 PM (ET/PT) on USA Network. The announcement was made today by Libby Hansen, vice president, alternative series & specials, USA Network.

LeAnn Rimes said, "I'm so honored to have my friend Phil Vassar join Nashville Star with me. Phil is an amazing talent who will inspire these country hopefuls tremendously. "

"We wanted to put together a panel of judges with their fingers on the pulse of what's hot and exciting in country music today," said Hansen. "Phil Vassar is one of the hottest names in country music and knows what it takes to make it in this business and specifically what to look for in the next Nashville Star."

The grand prizewinner of the third season of Nashville Star will be awarded a recording contract from Universal South Records. A joint venture between highly respected music executives Tim DuBois and Tony Brown and Universal Motown Records Group in New York, Universal South Records is part of the Universal Music Group.

"Since we arrived in Nashville three years ago, we've been looking for a way to collaborate with Tim [DuBois] and Tony [Brown] and their amazing team at Universal South," said Nashville Star executive producer H. T. Owens. "They are hands-on record executives and as our new partners, view Nashville Star as the ideal vehicle to find new talent and to market that talent aggressively."

Country music comedian Cledus T. Judd has been named correspondent for the show and will support show host LeAnn Rimes with color commentary. Country music talent manager Anastasia Brown has also been named to the panel ofjudges.

Singer-songwriter Phil Vassar began his career performing his growing repertoire of original songs at his Nashville club-restaurant. Before embarking on his solo career, which has produced more than half a dozen Top 10 hits (including his breakout #1 single "Just Another Day In Paradise"),Vassar penned hits for a number of top artists including Tim McGraw ("My Next Thirty Years"), Alan Jackson ("Right on the Money"), and Jo Dee Messina("Bye Bye"). He has earned numerous songwriting awards as well as new artist distinctions from ACM and CMA.

His current album, "Shaken Not Stirred," boasts the single "In A Real Love," which spent two weeks atop the country music charts. The steamy music video for his next single, "I'll Take That As A Yes (The Hot Tub Song)" is in rotation on CMT and GAC. Vassar's tour schedule keeps him out on the road presenting his energetic performances that have earned fan support and widespread critical acclaim.

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