Series: Star Search

One of the first competitive reality shows, running long before reality television was considered a genre. It considered itself a Talent Show with prizes. It would run in syndication from 1983 to 1995. Alfred Masini created the program in the wake of his success with the 1981 debut of another show of his, Entertainment Tonight.

Ed McMahon hosted the early version. Every week, various acts came onstage to perform. The nature of the act could be anything; singing and dancing were popular, but nothing was out of bounds. Every week, someone was declared the winner, and would get to compete in the last show of the season. The final winner got a cash prize that was large for the time.

Star Search was, for the most part, only slightly better at producing big stars as America's Next Top Model is at producing top models. This did not affect the show's popularity in the slightest.

Star Search was the blueprint for a large number of other shows. Eventually, the idea would cross the Atlantic; and when it crossed back, havoc broke loose. Yes, without Star Search, American Idol and Americas Got Talent might not exist. Star Search itself was revived in 2003 with Arsenio Hall as its host, with a wild deviation from the original (and one much closer to American Idol, with a fan vote contributing to scores). A 12-year-old David Archuleta appeared in the show's second series.

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