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Monday, January 22, 2007

Christian Reality Show ’Gifted’ Debuts This Week with TBN TV Special Setting the Stage For CD/DVD Release From EMI Christian Music Group
No ’Idol-Worship’ on First Season of Christian Reality Show

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE (ANS) -- There will be no 'idol worship' on the first season of a new Christian reality TV show. But there will be 16,000 contestants, 8 finalists, 3 judges, and 1 winner. That's the recipe for a new Christian reality TV show called 'Gifted' to air this week on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Some of the Christian talent to be featured on the new reality show Gifted.
This network will January 26 present to an estimated potential audience of more than 95 million viewers the launch of Gifted -- the much heralded two-hour prime time TBN television special that culminates months of nationwide searching to find and present the brightest new talent in Christian music, according to a media release obtained by ANS

The release says those tuning in that evening "will share the excitement of 'reality based TV' with the nationwide viewing audience witnessing one contestant being awarded the top prize of a major recording contract with the EMI Christian Music Group."

Once aired on the January 26, the release says: "Gifted is set to rapidly become a total music franchise."

The television special will be followed by a February 20 release of Gifted, Season One, on CD/DVD from EMI/Sparrow Records. In addition to the CD featuring performances by the eight top finalists on the telecast, the companion three hour DVD will contain the entire two hour televised special with bonus behind the scenes, 'all access' content.

According to the release, the show will be hosted and feature performances by Brian Littrell, member of the multi-platinum selling pop group Backstreet Boys, and now also recognized in his own right as a successful solo artist in the Christian music genre.

Judges chosen to sit on the panel for the competition include: Michael Sweet, lead singer of legendary Christian rock band Stryper, Eddie DeGarmo, founding member of multi-award winning Christian duo DeGarmo & Key and now president of EMI CMG Publishing, and multi-Grammy and Dove Award winning artist, Andrae Crouch.

The release says: "For the debut telecast itself the field of more than 16,000 contestants will be already narrowed for viewers to the eight top finalists, whose performances range from praise & worship, gospel and contemporary Christian music's top hits of today."

Throughout January leading up to the premier, TBN has broadcast four 30 minute prime time network specials -- setting the stage for Gifted and introducing the contestants to viewers. Nightly five-minute updates have also been telecast with behind the scene glimpses of the production, the contestants, and the reminder to watch the January 26 premier. After initial airing, the special will repeat on TBN through the February 20 release of the DVD/CD.

The TBN production is the creative alliance of Johnny Wright, Manager/President and CEO of Wright Entertainment Group, and Matthew Crouch, founder of Christian film production house, Gener8Xion Entertainment. Wright's creative client roster includes career direction of major mainstream artists such as *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and BoysIIMen, to name a few. Crouch,and son of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, has become a respected Christian film executive whose latest Gener8Xion production, One Night With The King, recently debuted on theater screens nationally. TBN is the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel.

The release adds: "National auditions for the Gifted talent competition were held over a year long period in churches situation in major markets throughout the United States. Unique to the competition was the emphasis to create a nationwide talent search for Christian solo artists with a desire to display the gifts that God gave them and to give back that gift by sharing with the world through their music the message of hope in Christ."

The eight finalists for the January 26 premier include:

Sheena Evans—Milledgeville, GA. (Green Pasture Baptist Church)

Brandon Kizer—Fort Worth, TX. (Diamond Oaks Worship Center)

Lindsey Labadie—Tulsa, OK. (Victory Christian Center)

Damien Lawson—Los Angeles, CA & Monroe, LA. (Crenshaw Christian Center)

Trisha Miyahara—La Puente, CA . (Victory Outreach)

Da’Quela Payne—Milwaukee, WI . (Holy Redeemer Church of God In Christ)

Rochelle Saunders—Sunrise, FL. (The Faith Center)

Nathan Wise--Washington, PA & Columbus, OH. (Apostolic Gospel Church) (Christ International Church)

Release of an AC format radio single, Amazing Love (You Are My King) as sung by the eight Gifted finalists, will hit radio stations February 2.

The Gifted website launches in tandem with the program's airing on January 26.

Resource online:  

Links to view the EMI Gifted video promo piece available online:


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For further information, Media Contact:

Jackie Monaghan
(615) 646-5990--Direct  

** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Lake Forest, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.

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