Exclusive: Kara DioGuardi and Jewel headlining new singer-songwriter competition for Bravo

Kara-DioGuardi-JewelImage Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; PRN/PR PhotosBravo has greenlit Going Platinum, a 10-episode reality competition for singer-songwriters that’s set to premiere in 2011, EW has learned exclusively. And if you think the concept sounds a bit like American Idol, wait until you hear who they’ve cast! Kara DioGuardi (who sat alongside Simon Cowell in seasons 8 and 9) will be head judge, while songstress Jewel (a guest judge on Idol’s season-6 auditions, as well as a former Nashville Star emcee) will host and provide feedback to contestants, too.

But before you dismiss Going Platinum as a knockoff, consider this: Idol‘s co-executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has repeatedly said his show’s season 10 contestants won’t be able to “hide behind their guitars.” So if the reality granddaddy is really trending away from sensitive acoustic troubadours and back toward its big-vocal roots — think more Carrie Underwood than, say, Crystal Bowersox — perhaps it’s the perfect time for Bravo’s new entry into the genre.

The series, which was previously announced as Hitmakers and is currently in production in Los Angeles, will follow 12 musicians as they compete in songwriting challenges across a variety of genres — everything from dance tracks to love ballads, according to Bravo — and perform these self-penned tracks for the cameras. Unlike Idol, the viewing public won’t be determining which contestants stay and which ones go; like Bravo’s other competition series (i.e. Top Chef), its judges will determine the winner.

At stake is a $100,000 cash prize; a publishing deal with Sony, BMI Songwriters The Writing Camp; and a recording deal with RCA/Jive.

According to the network, the series won’t skimp on the “personal drama” that “will unfold within the show and in [the contestants’] lyrics as they compete and live together.” What’s more, Going Platinum will enlist current recording stars as guest judges throughout the show’s run.

“Hit songs are the backbone of the music industry, and as a publisher, nothing excites me more than finding new songwriting talent,” said DioGuardi, in a release. “I am happy to be a part of a show that helps up and coming songwriters pursue their dreams, while giving the public a look into the creative process.”

DioGuardi dramatically improved her performance at the Idol judges’ table during her second season on the show, and both she and Jewel have solid track-records in the songwriting department, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer that there will be a spot on my DVR for the Going Platinum premiere — especially since some of my favorite Idol contestants turned out to be pretty good tunesmiths themselves. (See: Exhibit A.)

What about you? Are you excited for Going Platinum? Is there room on your DVR for both this show and Idol? And are you glad to see Kara DioGuardi will be back on the airwaves without much delay? Sound off below! –additional reporting by Tim Stack

Comments (65 total) Add your comment
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  • Doug

    This. Is. The. Greatest. Idea. EVER. If they can pull this off, it’s very possible I would love it more than Idol.

    • Mea

      Jeezuz! I thought we had seen the last of Craphead Kara. Where’s the justice?

    • Tarc

      Sounds better than Idol. I’m completely over the annoying closet case Seacrest, and I’d rather not ever see another image of Steven Tyler. I generally like Lithgoe’s ideas, but making this year’s idol crop lamer and more plastic is just out of tune with today’s music. People that can’t play or write (as well as sing) just do not deserve any attention.

      • Fran


    • brandy

      Agreed. I am totally in.

  • Sara

    I may be tuning into this instead of Idol. Not looking forward to J Lo or Steven Tyler. I think Idol may have run its course.

    • jordan

      I was actually thinking the same thing. I will probably watch X Factor when it comes on, but I’m not so sure about Idol. And this sounds more interesting and less time-consuming. Plus I loved DioGuardi last season, and Jewel is obviously a great choice.

  • Ixarix

    I like this idea as well. It could be a better show then Idol. I actually think it was a mistake getting rid of Kara on Idol.

    • Iizzie

      Yup you are right

  • anniewenn

    I was just thinking yesterday I wonder what Kara will do next… this sounds a lot more interesting than a Simon less Idol…

  • UGH

    I could watch it with the volume turned to mute just to stare at these two.

  • Nat

    I love Kara,this is gonna be awesome!
    Go Kara!

  • lulu

    I will most definitely be watching this. Sounds very interesting and I love me some Jewel! Kara’s cool, too.

  • Bobbi

    Will they be bringing in singers to perform the songs? A songwriter is not necessarily a great singer and won’t always show off the song in the way that it should be. I’ll definitely give the show a shot, although neither Kara nor Jewel excite me. Perhaps they’ll be better judging songs than singers.

    • matt

      I assume each contestant will have to write and sing the songs themselves.

    • Sara

      It says it’s a singer/songwriter competition. Which, YAY…my fave genre of music!

  • flicketyflack

    This actually sounds like a good idea. I’ll give it a chance. They need to just focus on their own show and not try to outdo AI.

  • Emily

    Sounds a little bit like Rockstar (Inxs or Supernova – take your pick), just without the live show and more original music. Could be entertaining. At least since Bravo repeats everything 20 times during the week – it won’t really have to compete with AI for DVR space.

  • Javabooknut

    I like the idea of a show dedicated to original music and developing talent. And I think I may prefer a Top Chef type format. Here’s hoping it’s less procuder manipulated than idol.

    • Steph

      Considering how great Bravo did w/ Top Chef & Project Runway, I think this has a lot of potential. I also was bummed when Kara got booted (or left) Idol. But this sounds better anyway.

      • Isabet

        I think it will be better than Idol–Love Kara and Jewel and Lythogoe has made Idol so boring with Tyler and JLO–passe and…..he isn’t allowing guitars and such…..boring…

  • Sam Sammy

    Why is Kara so stupid?

  • Chris

    Why do they let Jewel have anything to do with talent shows. She is awful. She couldnt last as the singer songwriter type and eventually moved on to pop country which was awful. If I knew Jewel was my mentor I might have to start looking elsewhere for my break

  • Becca

    This is actually a really great idea, I always thought Idol’s biggest flaw was not giving the contestants the opportunity to perform their own songs. And Kara was my favorite judge, so it’s awesome she has a new show so soon :)

  • Rena

    This sounds like fun! Leave Idol to the tweens.

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