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ABC Announces The Next Best Thing

February 15, 2007 11:21 PM by Joe Reality

From producers Peter Engel and Barry Katz (both of "Last Comic
Standing"), "The Next Best Thing: Who is the Greatest Celebrity
Impersonator?" (fka "The Imposter") begins production March 5, 2007,
with auditions in Los Angeles, CA. The hour-long alternative series on
the search to find the best celebrity impersonator is scheduled to air
this summer on the ABC Television Network.

Auditions will be held in four cities – Los Angeles (March 5-6), Las Vegas (March 11-12), New York (March 20-21) and Orlando (March 28-29). Contestants advancing from the regional auditions will move on to the semifinals. Ten contestants will emerge from the semis, and America will vote to crown The Next Best Thing. Locations of semis and finals TBD.

Audition Locations:

Los Angeles, March 5-6: Tribune Studios
5800 Sunset Blvd., Studio 9C
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Las Vegas, March 11-12: Rain Nightclub
Palms Casino Resort
4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103

New York, March 20-21: Caroline’s on Broadway
1626 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Orlando, March 28-29: Disney MGM Studios
Sounds Dangerous Theater
3111 World Drive
Orlando, FL 32830

Michele Merkin ("Food Call," "Extreme Dodgeball") will host. Actress-comedian Lisa Ann Walters has been signed as a judge. The other two judges will be named at a later date.

"The Next Best Thing" is produced by Peter Engel Productions Inc. and New Wave Entertainment(r). Peter Engel and Barry Katz serve as executive producers. Also executive-producing is the team of Fax Bahr and Adam Small ("The Jamie Kennedy Experience," "Mad TV"). Peter Engel has produced over 1000 episodes of weekly entertainment, including the teen megahit "Saved by the Bell."

Topics: The Next Best Thing |

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11 Responses to “ABC Announces The Next Best Thing”

  1. Svenalike UK Says:
    March 4th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    ABC’s “The Next Best Thing” claims to be a contest to find the best celebrity impersonator but having investigated the terms and conditions of entry and discussed the project with several US based pro colleagues, it is apparently aimed exclusvely at amateurs with American citizenship as overseas acts are excluded and the top USA based professional lookalike/soundalike and tribute acts are unlikely to want to be tied down by the proscriptive contractual commitments and restrictions that an application would entail.
    Members of the international impersonator and tribute act community have a pretty good idea of who is the most authentic, convincing and entertaining but the way this show appears to be set up it will not form a platform or attract those top established acts within the USA and the set up looks like a sub plot to expose amateurs to some kind of a freak show?
    I hope that I am wrong and would be interested to see the views of my American colleagues within the lookalike/tribute industry.

  2. tribute artist GP as Rick james Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Being the winner of the legends 2005 contest and various contest all over lasvegas, and the only Rick James impersonator in vegas and possibly the only one,in the world, was missed judged, even some of the staff agreed. and the ones you pick where mostly poeple who are already in the so call click on the strip and are in full productions shows. and are booked some where. Im still RICK JAMES you BITCHES

  3. GP the good and plentianer/ Rick james Says:
    March 14th, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    From what i,ve seen ,nothing but the best on the strip is in this contest,I may not be the next best thing, but I am thee best Rick James impersonator in lasvegas and possibly the world, maybe the judges should let the TV audience decide, but i know they fear rick turning it out,as i have here in lasvegas, but its all good for who they want to win. GP the good and plenty entertianer/ Rick James

  4. lied-to contestant Says:
    April 8th, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    since everyone who is in support of this show comments on how “professional” the whole production is… let me add this tidbit of info for your review…

    i auditioned for this show in orlando… ALL THREE judges were amazed at my impersonation and voted decisively for me to advance… i was excited and felt i had did myself justice for spending over $1000 in travel, accomodations and costume to go to florida and take a chance…

    to my disappointment, i received a call (and on the answering machine no less) that they were “sorry” that the judges had wrongfully passed through over 100 “qualifiers” way over the amount for the only 30 slotted semi finalist openings in the next round…

    i also later got a call from a friend who literally works on the CREW for this show who said that they ALREADY KNEW they had enough contestants for the show and that they only went through with the orlando audition JUST TO GET FOOTAGE…

    you tell me how professional it is to completely lie to the people who came out earnestly to try out and wait for literally hours to achieve NOTHING… ESPECIALLY to those who MADE IT and were just lured into the production under false pretenses…

    i have lost all respect for ABC and Disney… very UNPROFESSIONAL…

    skeptics who think this is just a ‘rant’ with no merit are welcome to email me for names and specific info to verify this occurance…


    April 24th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    As in many of the statements above, this show was not strategically planned well. If they were looking for a carbon copy they should called it that. They would have a far more interesting show with real legs if it were “who are the best impressionists” or who the does the best and or the most impressions. Carbon copies will get boring pretty quickly.
    I auditioned in New York, Lisa really liked me. One of the guys said I was very very talented. The other guy said that fact that I was part Asian didn’t make it for him. Lisa argued that she had problem with that! She said what if we get a gender bender impersonator, was that not real enough. Well they went back and forth and I did some other impressions, but in the end the said no. So It will be interesting to see who they did more on because right after me was a female impersonator of Britey Spears. She-He looked great, I wonder?
    Oh even though they didn’t more me on they all said I was so talented that I should try out for the last comic standing.

  6. semi-finalist Says:
    May 31st, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Like “lied-to contestant” I auditioned in Orlando. It sounds like he didn’t read the show’s contestant application. The producers explained that “moving on” means you’re in *consideration* to be in the Semi-Finals – not that you’ve won anything yet. Think about it “lied-to-contestant” – if the show already had all its contestants by the time the got to Orlando, then in the upcoming Florida episode, no one will make it through to the Semi-Finals. Obviously that’s not the case. I know it for a fact, because I MADE IT TO THE SEMI-FINALS, buddy! Try paying attention next time!

  7. Juno_whatchertalkinabout Says:
    June 5th, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    It’s probably good to hear the opinion of someone who actually watched the first episode, and did so without the disadvantage of having been a rejected auditioner. I thought it was a scream. Sure, the judges were too harsh, but the contestants were a riot. Did you see and hear the Jackie Gleason/Art Carney pair, Lucy, Jack Nickelson, Al Pacino, and Simon Cowell???? I’m more into the comedy, and they were HILARIOUS. The singers sounded just like the real thing to me, too. I liked the Fonz, Johnnie Carson, Jerry Lewis, Little Richard…and on and on. You couldn’t watch it and genuinely not be impressed, REALLY impressed, admit it.

  8. Ruby Tuesday Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    The show was definitely manipulated and comments dubbed in afterwards for entertainment value inother words to make the judges look funny. We were treated fabilously when we audutioned and told that we were going to l A. and then smeared on the final cut and all good footage elinated. there were those who were lucky, but it isn’t over yet I am pulling for you guys still in it, That you won’t get hurt by dihonesty but don’t count on it I have also heard from the inside track a lot of bad things that have been done to a lot of people. A.B. C. Should be ashamed of theirselves oh but I forgot there is no shame these days when it comes to ratings and what sells greediness and hatefulness.

  9. sem Says:
    June 15th, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Ruby – what does “I have also heard from the inside track a lot of bad things that have been done to a lot of people” mean? Stop being so ambiguous. If you have an accusation, make it. Otherwise stop being a crybaby.

  10. UNsmitten by TNBT Says:
    July 12th, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    This show is WAYYYYY too MEAN SPIRITED!!!! I won’t watch it.

  11. ruby Says:
    July 24th, 2007 at 1:22 am

    the winners were prepicked. The judges were scripted. Their comments dubbed in, after the taping. You don’t seriously think that the kind of big money involved here, or in any supposed Reality show is actually just taking a blind chance on a good show! they do everything in their power to plan every part of it and could care less about who disagrees or is hurt. That is irrelevant in the real world of greedy producers, meaness in in stle, Some of the best performers in the country were sucked into this farce. unfortunitely the viewing public supports this type of show It gives them a chance to see someone look bad and a lot of people love it. The winners are then produced to the max and made to look a good. A lot of those contestants that were sacrificed were etremely talented and sucessful performers who would have all looked good with that big money production behind them The winner is the Elvis guy with all of the plastic surgery. everyone qualified to be included in the finals knew in advance they arrived late and assigned dressing rooms and special priviliges that were not allowed for the others The judges are only trying to make their mark and their money and do as they are told BY THE PRODUCERS.


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