Christian version of
American Idol to debut
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June 18, 2004 | ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The management company that represents Britney Spears and 'N Sync is searching for a divine voice.
"Gifted,'' a Christian version of the popular American Idol TV show, is scheduled to debut in October on Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based conglomerate that features such well-known evangelists as Benny Hinn.
The Orlando-based Wright Entertainment Group is part of a joint venture with Matt Crouch, son of the founders of Trinity Broadcasting Network, to create the talent-search show, Wright spokesman Philip McIntyre said.
McIntyre said the joint venture, called Wright Generation, is negotiating with a private investor to finance the project.
"It is our goal to wrap God's message -- His love _ in acceptance, and in a way that blends seamlessly into 'pop' culture while still upholding the values we, as Christians, value most,'' Wright Generation's mission statement reads.
A cross-country summer bus tour to 11 Trinity stations is planned, where auditions will be held for solo singers, ages 18-24. The network reaches 70 million homes.
The tour, scheduled to begin July 26, will stop in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New York, California and Washington state. Contestants will perform gospel or contemporary spiritual songs.
Two finalists will be chosen at each stop. The 24 finalists will be flown to Hollywood, where they will perform before a live studio audience and be evaluated by celebrity judges.
Eight will go on to the finals, where the television audience will choose the winner, whose career will be managed by Wright and Crouch.