2:00pm PT by Rick Porter
NBC Orders Songwriter-Focused Music Competition 'Songland'
NBC is adding another music competition to its roster with Songland, a series that will focus on songwriters and give them a change to have tracks recorded by top artists.
The show counts Voice judge and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart, along with The Voice's Audrey Morrissey, among its executive producers. Stewart, Morrissey and fellow EP Ivan Dudynsky devised the concept.
The order for Songland comes as The Voice is in the early stages of its 16th cycle on NBC; the network's other major talent competition, America's Got Talent, has been on for 14 years. Both shows are still among the highest-rated unscripted series on TV, but the most recent cycles of each have been down some.
Each episode of Songland will feature five songwriters performing original tracks for a panel of music producers and a different "major" recording artist each week. After discussion and critique of each song, the artist will pick three songwriters and pair them with producers to adapt and develop the tracks further in a recording studio. Each winner will have his or her song recorded and released as the artist's next single.
The first episode will have Charlie Puth as the artist of the week and Tedder, Grammy winner Shane McAnally (Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go Round") and Grammy nominee Ester Dean, who has written songs for Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Rihanna and many others, as judges.
"Songwriters shape the anthems and tell the stories of each generation, and now we're pulling back the curtain on the collaborative process and opening the door for new talent to emerge," said Meredith Ahr, president, Universal Television Alternative Studio. "While filming our first episode, the excitement was palpable as we witnessed the creative direction of our panelists transform and elevate the music right before our eyes. Without a doubt, Songland will inspire music lovers and give us all a greater appreciation for the songs we love."
Songland is produced by Live Animals in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, Dave Stewart Entertainment and Levine's 222 Productions. There's no word yet on a premiere date.