Star Search

Star Search

Infobox Television
show_name = Star Search

caption = "Star Search" logo from 2002-2003
genre = Interactive reality game show
writer = Sam Riddle Al Masini Phil Kellard Tom Shatz Jerrod Cardwell Scott C. Voss
director = Tim Kiley Greg V. Fera
developer =
presenter = Ed McMahon (1983-1995) Arsenio Hall (2003-2004)
starring = Ed McMahon (1983-1995) Sam Riddle Beverly Leech Kevin Alexander Shea Arsenio Hall (2003-2004)
country = United States
language = English
list_episodes =
exec_producer = Bob Banner Todd Wagner
co_exec = Mark Cuban (2002-2004) Dan Funk Andrew J. Golder
producer = Sam Riddle
runtime = 60 minutes
company = Bob Banner Associates (1983-1988)
Metromedia Television (1983-1986)
Television Program Enterprises (1986-1994)
Rysher Entertainment (1994-1995)
2929 Productions (2002-2004) Productions (2003-2004)
CBS Productions (2003-2004)
channel = Syndication (1983-1995)
CBS (2003-2004)
picture_format = Color
audio_format = Stereo
first_run =
first_aired = September 17, 1983
last_aired = 1995 (first run) January 2003 - April 2004 (second run)
website =
prod_website =
imdb_id = 0085093
tv_com_id = 1057

"Star Search" is a television show that was produced from 1983 to 1995 and hosted by Ed McMahon. A relaunch was produced in 2002 - 2004. The show was originally filmed at the old Earl Carroll Theatre at 6230 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood and later at the Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Rules of original "Star Search"

On both the T.P.E./Rysher Entertainment and 2929 Productions version of the show, contestants competed in several genres of entertainment. While categories varied slightly from season to season, the six basic categories were:

* Male Vocalist
* Female Vocalist
* Junior Vocalist (removed in 1986, returned in 1987)
* Vocal Group
* Spokesmodel
* Comedy

Potential contestants audition to be on the show. If selected, they will compete. In each category, two people compete, a champion and a challenger. The challenger gets the advantage of performing their act first, the champion performs their act second.

All acts are judged by a panel of four judges, each judge can award an act from one to four stars (later changed to five stars). Once both acts are complete, Ed reveals the scores, best average wins. If there is a tie, a studio audience vote breaks the tie in which the results are revealed at the end of the show.

Any performer must win at least several shows in a row, dependent on the number of shows left in the season, to earn an entry into the next round of the competition; usually this was three or four wins in a row. In later seasons, three match winners were automatically retired. In this case, two new performers compete in that category the following week.

The rules for the Quarter and Semi Final shows are the same as above, only random draw (or alphabetical order) determines who will perform first. Note that scores are never revealed in the Quarter or Semi Finals, and only the winners are announced.

The judges are removed for the Championship show, and the studio audience votes for the winners. Winners of Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, Vocal Group, and Comedy are awarded $100,000 but unlike American Idol, no record contract was guaranteed. Many Star Search winners from the early seasons secured recording contracts within a few weeks of the end of the competition - first season vocal group winner Sawyer Brown, first season male vocalist champion Sam Harris and second season male vocalist champion Durell Coleman were the first three, and were later followed by second season vocal group winner Limited Warranty, third season female vocalist champion Linda Eder, second season junior male vocalist champion Jimmy Salvemini, whose album was produced by Luther Vandross, and first season junior female vocalist runner-up Tiffany, who despite not winning her competition (she lost to Melissa Moultree} was the first Star Search alumnus to land a number one hit, I Think We're Alone Now, in 1988 - on Star Search she performed as Tiffany Renee. The winner of the Spokesmodel category is awarded $100,000 and a contract with a well-known modeling agency. Winner of Junior Vocalist wins $25,000.

In early seasons, before the three match limit rule was adopted, the grand champions were determined by how long a champion held their title. While it is believed that Sam Harris holds the record for longest championship, at 14 weeks in Season 1, Harris was actually defeated by singer Beau Williams on Harris' 14th attempt. This record is actually held by Singer Durell Coleman (1985) who won the $100,000 on Season 2 with 15 wins and no defeats.


In the wake of "American Idol"'s success, Arsenio Hall hosted a new version of "Star Search", which ran for two years: 2003 and 2004 on CBS, before ending up in reruns on cable channel GSN for one year from 2004 to 2005. This new version was judged by several people, including Ben Stein and Naomi Judd. Among the winners were singer Tiffany Evans, comedian Loni Love and singer David Archuleta.

The revival consisted of four series. For the first series, the categories were Adult and Junior Singer, Comedy, and Modeling. In series two and three, Modeling was replaced with Dance. In the final series, the Comedy category was scrapped altogether and only the singing and dancing categories remained.

For the first three series, two new competitors faced off. The three house judges, along with the one celebrity judge, gave each contestant a score on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, making a maximum studio score 20 stars. During each commercial break, the home audience went to to rate the competitors who just performed. Each performer could earn up to another 20 stars from the home audience. In the climactic moment before the score from the home audience was revealed, Hall would often say, "Hit me with the digits!".

When the scores were tallied, the higher scoring performer won. If the score was tied, then Hall would read off each performer's score rounded to the nearest hundredth (the at home score was initially rounded down to the nearest star, unless there was a tie). That performer would then go on to the next round of competition. The only real exception to this format during the first three series was that three people competed in the semi-final rounds, not two. After the first two series, a special, "Battle of the Best" show took place, where the two Adult Singer, Junior Singer, and Comedian Grand Champions (Modeling was only the first season, and Dance had only been around for one season) were brought back to face off for an additional $100,000.

For the fourth and final series, three contestants in Adult Singer, Junior Singer, and Dance were brought back to initially compete (Comedy was dropped, jokingly because Naomi gave many comics only one star). The three brought back in each category were not necessarily the Grand Champions of their series. The show scrapped the celebrity judge and had three house judges for the entire series: Naomi Judd, MC Lyte, and Matti Leshem (who tried to berate contestants as if he were Simon Cowell).

As in past series, two new contestants competed. With only three judges, 15 stars was possible, and ties were broken by a majority vote between the three. This is where the former contestants came in. Initially, in each category, these three performers made up the "Winner's Circle". The winning challenger then had the chance to challenge one of the three performers in his or her respective winner's circle. The winner's circle performer then had to beat or tie the bar set by the challenger- ties were automatically given to the Winner's Circle performer. If they couldn't beat the score, they were out of the competition, and the challenger took his or her place in the Winner's Circle.

Halfway through the series, the three performers in each Winner's Circle competed against each other in a special show. The winner in each category not only received a trip home, but a free pass to the final show. From then on, there were only two people who could be challenged in each Winner's Circle. In the final show, the three people in each Winner's Circle competed against each other for $100,000. This, along with the Free Pass show, were the only two shows which re-adopted the at-home voting concept.
*The Adult Singer group was the only group to record a complete shutout. The three performers in the beginning were there in the end as well.
*The free pass was equally important in the other two groups as well. In both the Dance and Junior Singer categories, not only did the free pass save the winner from being challenged in an ever-changing Winner's Circle, but they ended up winning their group finals (Junior Singer Mark Mejia and Dancer Jon Cruz).
*Adult Singer and Series 1 champion Jake Simpson was challenged a record four times during his tenure in the Winner's Circle. He not only went a perfect 4-0, but he also won his group final. The only match he lost that entire season was the Winner's Circle Square-Off Special.

This remake lasted two years before its cancellation in April 2004.

elected "Star Search" Winners

* 1983 Sam Harris (Male Vocalist Champion, Season 1)
* 1985 Durell Coleman (Male Vocalist Champion, Season 2)
* 1986 Kenny James (Male Vocalist Champion)
* 1986 Peggi Blu (Female Vocalist Champion)
* 1986 Jenny Jones (Comedy Champion)
* 1987 David Slater (Male Vocalist Champion)
* 1987 Tracie Spencer (Female Vocalist Champion)
* 1988 Victor Trent Cook (Male Vocalist Champion)
* 1988 Linda Eder (Female Vocalist Champion)
* 1989 Josephine "Banig" Roberto (Female Vocalist Champion)
* 1991 Tommy Gardner (Junior Vocalist Grand Champion)
* 1993 Tom Burns (Male Vocalist Champion, Season 10)
* 1995 Colleen Ford (Junior Vocalist Champion, Season 12)
* 2003 Tiffany Evans (Junior Division Grand Champion (becoming the only performer in "Star Search" history to receive perfect five scores on all of her appearances).

Notable competitors on "Star Search"

* Tommy Gardner, 1991 (Junior Vocalist Grand Champion for the year)
* Bill Kaulitz, 2003 (lead singer of Tokio Hotel)
* Ingo Oschmann, (2003 Comedy champion)
* Joseph Williams (Toto lead singer from 1986 - 1988)
* Josh Strickland, 2004
* Alanis Morissette (singer)
* Aaliyah, 1990 (singer)
* Josephine Banig Roberto, 1989 (singer)
* Christina Aguilera, 1990 (singer)
* David Archuleta, 2003 (Junior Vocal Champion/2008 "American Idol" season 7 runner-up)
* Spensha Baker 2004 (Junior Singer Finalist)
* James Bonamy
* Percy Richard (Vocalist of the Year 1993)
* Destiny's Child, 1991 (singers as Girls Tyme, all time best girl group of the '90's)
* Támar, 2004
* Drew Carey (Game show host for "The Price is Right")
* Jon "Do-Knock" Cruz (Member of Super Cr3w, champions of "America's Best Dance Crew Season 2" )
* Colleen Ford, 1995 (Junior Vocal Champion)
* Billy Dean
* Brian Page & The Next "5 Time Vocal Group Winner"
* Diana DeGarmo ("American Idol" season 3 runner-up)
* Charles Divins
* Linda Eder, 1988 (Female Vocalist Champion)
* Tiffany Evans, 2003 (Junior Division Grand Champion)
* Kim J Hunter, 1989 (Dancer)
* April Fulladosa/Gislason, 1986 (Female vocalist)
* Elisa Fiorillo
* Brad Garrett (Actor)
* Dana Gould, 1987
* Ruben Gomez, 1986 (junior male vocalist) lead singer for Menudo 1987-1990
* Sam Harris
* Durell Coleman
* Beth Hart
* Keith Tyce Diorio ("So You Think You Can Dance" choreographer)
* Jessica Simpson (singer)
* Ty Herndon
* Kent James, 1993 (as a part of the music group Kent & the Kommotion)
* Colleen Ford, 1995 (singer)
* Sutton Foster, 1990
* Kevin James
* Jenny Jones, 1986 (Comedy champion)
* Coors Light Twins (Diane Klimaszewski & Elaine Klimaszewski), 1987 (teen dancers)
* Martin Lawrence, 2003 (actor)
* Nick Lazzarini, 2003 (as a part of the dance group Hot Under the Collar)
* Julie McCullough, 1987 (Spokesmodel)
* Carlos Mencia, 1991 (Comedy)
* Vic Mignogna, 1993
* Dennis Miller
* Vickie Natale, 2003
* Rosie O'Donnell, 1984 (Comedy)
* Sophie Tamiko Oda (Actress and plays Barbara Brownstein on Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody")
* Ken Ober
* Steve Oedekerk
* Q'Orianka Kilcher
* Rashaan Patterson
* Joey Pearson
* Alisan Porter
* LeAnn Rimes
* Ray Romano
* Tracey Ross (actress)
* J. D. Roth(junior actor), TV host
* Sawyer Brown
* Sinbad
* David Slater
* Britney Spears, 1992 (singer)
* Tracie Spencer
* Sharon Stone, 1984 (spokesmodel)
* Marc Summers
* Eboni, 1995 (Vocal Group/Band champion)
* Justin Timberlake, 1991 (singer, as Justin Randall)
* Bill Engvall
* Jessica Tivens (1988, singer)
* Lisa Tucker ("American Idol" season 5 finalist)
* Phil Vassar, 1987, (singer, finalist)
* Countess Vaughn
* Dave Chappelle (comedian)
* Bianca Ryan, 2005 (singer)
* Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (Actress in "Camp Rock" on Disney Channel)
* Nadia Turner ("American Idol" season 4 finalist)
* Rissi Palmer
* Rome Romanne
* Karina Pasian
* Jessica Sierra ("American Idol" season 4 finalist)
* Jordis Unga (2005 "" finalist)
* Kimberly Caldwell ("American Idol" season 2 finalist)
* Reva Rice
* Usher
* Janel Parrish, 2003 (singer)

External links

* [;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A439960%20|%20Number%3A440509%20|%20Number%3A440508;querytype=;resCount=10 Star Search at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia]

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