The world leader in faith- based, family friendly television programming, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), will make its mark in reality TV with “Gifted,” a show on a quest to find the best Christian music talent. “Gifted” airs on TBN during its prime-time slot at 7:00 PM (Pacific) this Friday, January 26th.
The heralded two-hour special is the culmination of months of nationwide searching to find and present the brightest new talent in Christian music to the world. Beginning with some 16,000 contestants, three judges will now select from 8 finalists—but only 1 gifted contestant will walk away with the top prize of a major recording contract with the EMI Christian Music Group.
“The show will be hosted (and feature performances) by Brian Littrell, member of the multi- platinum selling pop group Backstreet Boys, who is also recognized in his own right as a successful solo artist in the Christian music genre. Judges sitting 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.
“Gifted” is expected 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.
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, son of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, has become a respected Christian film executive whose latest Gener8Xion production, One Night With The King, debuted on theater screens nationally October 13th and will be available on DVD, through FOXFAITH on January 30th.
National auditions for the Gifted talent competition were held over a year long period in churches situated in major markets throughout the United States.
“Unique to the competition was the emphasis to create a nationwide talent search for Christian artists with a desire to display the gifts that God gave them and to give back that gift by sharing it with the world through their music,” said Susan Zahn, the networks publicist.
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.
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