GRAMMY-NOMINATED MUSIC SENSATION
JEWEL TO HOST SEASON FIVE OF
“NASHVILLE STAR” PRESENTED BY SONIC
Season Four’s Cowboy Troy returns as Co-Host;
Show Premieres on its New Night, Thursday, January 11 at 10pm/9pm Central


NASHVILLE, TN — September 27, 2006 — NASHVILLE STAR, USA Network’s original grassroots talent search to find America’s next great country music star and the nation’s top-rated country music program, will return on its new night, Thursday, January 11 from 10-11pm ET/9-10pm CT with Grammy-nominated host Jewel. Joining Jewel for the record-breaking fifth season will be season four co-host RAYBAW/Warner Bros. Record’s Cowboy Troy. The announcement was made today by Jeff Wachtel, executive vice president, original programming, USA Network.

Jewel succeeds five-time Grammy Award-winning superstar Wynonna Judd, who co-hosted season four with Cowboy Troy, as host for season five.

“Jewel brings a new and exciting dynamic to NASHVILLE STAR for its fifth season,” said Wachtel. "Her success and her understanding of the craft as both a singer and songwriter will be invaluable to the aspiring singers and insightful to the viewers. With her fresh perspective and Cowboy Troy’s return, the two should make a phenomenal hosting team!”

“I grew up on a ranch in Alaska, and my favorite memories are of sitting around a camp fire with my father and listening to the songs he wrote and sang. It was pure country music, and it has made me a sincere fan of country music ever since,” said Jewel. “I am so excited to be part of this show, and for the chance to watch the contestants compete in this uniquely American artform.”

"Jewel is one of the most extraordinary artists in the music industry, and we are thrilled that she will participate as the host of NASHVILLE STAR for its fifth season,” said H.T. Owens, executive vice president, creative affairs, Reveille, which produces the nation's top-rated country music program. "As an acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet and actress, Jewel will help us find another talented and deserving artist to bring to the country music scene."

From the remote tundra of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, Jewel has traveled a singular road as an acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet, actress and painter. The three-time Grammy nominee, hailed by The Times of London as “the most sparkling female singer-songwriter since Joni Mitchel,” continues to explore new musical avenues from the simplicity of acoustic-driven folk to the embrace of rock, pop, country, blues, jazz and classical influences. To date, Jewel has sold over 27 million albums worldwide, enjoying career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Jewel’s personal odyssey, partly chronicled on her twelve-times RIAA platinum debut album Pieces of You comes to full flower with her most recent Atlantic Records CD, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland.

The Hick-Hop originator, Cowboy Troy’s release Loco Motive debuted at #2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and at #15 on Billboard's Hot 200 chart. Billed as the world’s only six-foot-five black rapping cowboy, Cowboy Troy, burst onto the country music fan's consciousness with the multi-lingual breakdown in the middle of "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)", the opening track to platinum-selling labelmates Big & Rich's 2004 release Horse of A Different Color. The University of Texas grad continues to electrify crowds on the road as he tours with Big & Rich.

For its fifth season premiere in January 2007, NASHVILLE STAR will become the longest-running competition series on cable television. Its national casting tour began on August 31 in Atlanta and continued to twelve other cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, Dallas, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Tampa Bay, Albuquerque, Charlotte and of course, Nashville.


The auditions are open to women and men, ages 18 and over (as of January 1, 2007), who think they have what it takes to become the next NASHVILLE STAR. Updated information on auditions including cities, locations and times, song lists, applications, as well as how to audition if you can't make it to an open call, can be found on http://www.usanetwork.com/nashvillestar/.

As in the past, the winner of this season’s NASHVILLE STAR will receive a major music recording contract with a top-level record label.

In its previous four seasons, the careers of promising artists including Miranda Lambert, Buddy Jewel, Erika Jo and Season Four winner Chris Young have been launched. Jewel debuted his self-titled CD at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and was eventually certified gold by the RIAA. Runner-up Lambert became a household name when her Kerosene became the highest-selling debut album of 2005. Young, the most recent winner, will release his first CD on October 3; his self-written first single “Drinkin’ Me Lonely,” which he performed on NASHVILLE STAR, recently debuted at country radio.

NASHVILLE STAR will continue to be broadcast live from the BellSouth Acuff Theatre in Nashville.

SONIC, America’s Drive-In (NASDAQ/GS: SONC), the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain, is the exclusive presenting partner of the fifth season of NASHVILLE STAR.