NBC’s long-gestating songwriting competition reality series Songland has received an 11-episode series order. The project hails from The Voice executive producer Audrey Morrissey, Eurythmics co-founder and producer Dave Stewart, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and his 222 Productions and OneRepublic’s RyaStewart hn Tedder.
Songland, produced by Universal Alternative Television Studio, aims at giving talented up-and-coming songwriters the opportunity to collaborate with three music producers per episode who are responsible for today’s biggest hits.
Songland had a long and slightly bumpy road to the screen. It was originally ordered to a pilot, with Stewart, Levine, Morrissey and director Ivan Dudynsky attached, in March 2015. A year later, as it was in the casting stage, the project came under intense scrutiny after an intellectual property attorney posted a warning about the onerous contract applicants were asked to sign giving up copyright on any submitted song. The issue was quickly addressed by NBC which amended the contracts for the show and stated the show’s IP rights policies on Songland’s Web site.
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In each episode five songwriters will perform their original tracks in front of three top music producers and a major recording artist on an intimate soundstage. The first episode features three-time Grammy nominee Charlie Puth as the recording artist along with a panel of producer-songwriters that includes Grammy winner Tedder, singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter Ester Dean and Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Shane McAnally.
Each song’s lyrics, arrangements, beats, melody and story will be considered by the panel as producers discuss ways to creatively adapt them to better fit the style and sensibility of the recording artist of the week.
After the performances, the recording artist will choose three songwriters to move forward to the studio and pair them each with the producer best suited to perfect their song. In the studio, the songs will take shape as the songwriter and producer duos work together to win over the recording artist. In the end, a winner will be chosen and their song will be recorded and released as the top artist’s next single.
Songland is produced by Live Animals in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, Dave Stewart Entertainment and 222 Productions. The concept was devised by Stewart, Morrissey and Dudynsky. Stewart, Morrissey, Levine and Dudynsky executive produce. Josh Gummersall will serve as producer along with Ryan Tedder who is repped by Ron Laffitte, Dana Salant for Patriot Management.
“Songwriters shape the anthems and tell the stories of each generation, and now we’re pulling back the curtain on the collaborative process and opening the door for new talent to emerge,” said Meredith Ahr, President, Universal Television Alternative Studio. “While filming our first episode, the excitement was palpable as we witnessed the creative direction of our panelists transform and elevate the music right before our eyes. Without a doubt, Songland will inspire music lovers and give us all a greater appreciation for the songs we love.”
The series order comes on the eve of Mipcom as NBC’s sibling Uni TV Alternative Studio is expected to pitch the series and the format It owns to international buyers.
“Songland has been an ongoing passion project for both myself as well as my team at 222,” said Levine. “As a songwriter, I am all too familiar with the challenges that face the music community today. With this new series, we are excited to provide opportunities that will not only impact these songwriters’ careers but also give them a platform to truly showcase their talent to a global audience.”
Levine and 222 Productions are repped by Irving Azoff, Adam Harrison for management and WME for film and television. Tedder is repped by Ron Laffitte, Dana Salant for Patriot Management. Stewart is repped by ICM Partners.
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