'Nashville' to strike it Rich

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Grammy winner John Rich of the multiplatinum duo Big & Rich will be a judge-mentor on the sixth season of "Nashville Star" on NBC and will write and produce the winner's debut single.

Additionally, series creator Reveille has formed a joint venture with AEG Live and Warner Bros. Records; Warner Bros. will release songs from this season's winner and other contestants while AEG Live will promote a "Nashville Star" concert tour across North America.

Following a five-season run on USA Network, "Nashville" premieres June 9 on NBC with Billy Ray Cyrus as host.

Warner Bros. also released the album of the show's winner last season.

"Not only is John Rich one of the biggest stars to come out of country music, he's also an award winning song writer and producer. I have no doubt that he will be the perfect mentor for all the contestants of 'Nashville Star'," said Tom Whalley, Warner Bros. Records CEO and chairman.

Rich is nominated for six Academy of Country Music Awards this year including song of the year. He has written hit songs for such artists as Gretchen Wilson, Faith Hill and Cowboy Troy. He also produced Jewel, Randy Owen of Alabama and James Otto's current albums as well as all of the Big & Rich albums. He's now producing his first solo effort on Warner Bros. and Wilson's fourth album.

While "Nashville" had spawned small-town concert tours during its run on USA, the deal with AEG will take the show's concert afterlife to the next level.

AEG is the leader in bringing TV shows to stage with the "American Idol," "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus," "High School Musical" and "Dancing With the Stars" tours.

"We are incredibly fortunate to be partners with one of the truly exceptional record companies and one of the most avant-garde television producers in the medium," AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips said. "This new business model joint venture is not just about creating another successful national tour for us, it is about using NBC's immense broadcast platform to break tomorrow's stars."

"Nashville" was created by Reveille and is produced by 495 Prods. Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops and Sally Ann Salsano serve as exec producers. Jon Small also will produce.
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