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[03/12/09 - 09:00 AM]
MTV and Nick Lachey to Spotlight Some of the Nation's Most Talented Performing Arts Students in the Reality Musical Series "Taking the Stage"
Each episode of series, due on March 19, will feature songs and dance routines written and choreographed by the cast.

[via press release from MTV]

MTV AND NICK LACHEY TO SPOTLIGHT SOME OF THE NATION'S MOST TALENTED PERFORMING ARTS STUDENTS IN THE REALITY MUSICAL SERIES "TAKING THE STAGE"

One-Hour Reality Musical Series Conceptualized and Executive Produced by Nick Lachey Will Follow Students of Cincinnati's School For Creative And Performing Arts

Premieres Thursday, March 19 at 10p.m. EST/PST

NEW YORK, March 12, 2009 � What would you do in order to fulfill your dreams? For the young stars of MTV's new reality musical series Taking The Stage, the answer is anything. Premiering Thursday, March 19 at 10p.m. ET/PT on MTV, Taking The Stage is a one-hour 10-episode reality musical series conceptualized and executive produced by Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), that will follow the lives of five talented students at the School For Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati, Ohio. A reality musical series executive produced by feature film and theatre producer Marc Platt who also serves as creative consultant (Honey, Legally Blonde, Nine, Broadway Musical Wicked), the show is the first of its kind to be scored with music performed by cast members in-scene. Each episode of Taking The Stage will feature songs and dance routines written and choreographed by the cast.

In the heart of Cincinnati, SCPA is a prestigious school that draws young people from all backgrounds dedicated to pursuing careers in the arts. The school has an illustrious history of producing some of the entertainment industry's most renowned dancers, singers and musicians from Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) and actress Carmen Electra (Starsky & Hutch), to actor/director Todd Luiso (High Fidelity), actor Rocky Carroll (NCIS) and singer Nick Lachey. SCPA is not the average high school and gaining entrance is not an easy task, as every student must audition before being accepted. The curriculum is so rigorous, that the students who have been there the longest call themselves "survivors." Honing their skills will take everything they have but to achieve it they will have to focus all their energy and make sacrifices along the way.

While they are some of the most talented teenagers in the country, they will still have to navigate the same trials and insecurities that all teenagers face which are obstacles that threaten their chances at success. The enormous pressure to make good grades, demanding rehearsal schedules, changing friendships and first loves, will keep them striving to find balance. As these rising stars pursue their goals, cameras will be there to capture the ups and downs, the adulations and tears, and that moment when they risk it all to take the stage and claim it as their own.

"Taking The Stage is an entirely new genre of television for us... the reality musical drama," said Tony DiSanto, Head of MTV Programming. "It has heart, emotion, real stakes, and music organically woven in to the stories as the method of expression for this amazing group of kids. Their stories are captivating as they work hard to realize their dreams while going through all the trials of their senior year of high school. The talent of this cast is inspiring and we are thrilled to partner with Nick Lachey on a series we are incredibly proud of."

"I spent my formative years at SCPA, so I know first hand what a fantastic yet often intense environment it can be," said Nick Lachey, Co-creator and Executive Producer on Taking The Stage. "This show is a great journey for me both personally and professionally. It's provided me with an opportunity to step behind the camera and get into development and producing as well as put a spotlight on the great city of Cincinnati and my alma mater."

The cast of Taking The Stage :

Jasmine � A prima ballerina who dreams of attending New York performing arts conservatory The Juilliard School after graduating from SCPA.

Mia � A singer-songwriter whose talent is matched only by her drive and her goal is to be signed by the time she is 18.

Tyler � A gifted hip-hop dancer, he is new to SCPA where he joins his little brother Chris (also a dancer and already a student) and attracts attention from everyone at the school.

Malik � Jasmine's best friend and leads the school's only hip-hop dance group, "The Definition." In addition to his formidable dance skills, he is also a talented choreographer and a singer/songwriter.

Shaakira � A dancer and aspiring actress, she is also an accomplished ballet dancer -- one of the best SCPA has ever produced -- but prefers hip-hop dance and is an integral member of Malik's team.

In the premiere episode, SCPA students are buzzing about an upcoming school talent showcase where the students will get to perform in front of judges made-up of music industry professionals including an executive from Jive Records. Tyler is new to the school and while Malik's and Shaakira's dance crew is the reigning hip-hop troupe in the school, he's more than ready to give them some long-overdue competition. Jasmine finds herself torn between her growing attraction to Tyler and her loyalty to Malik. Mia is working on an original song she wants to perform but wonders if her boyfriend will be there for her on the biggest night of her life. In order to perform well and get what could be their first big break, these students will have to fight through the personal drama in order to focus and impress the judges on show night.

From March 12 � March 19, viewers can visit TakingTheStage.MTV.com to watch an extended scene from the premiere episode. While there, they also become familiar with the cast through video profiles and photos. After the March 19 premiere, fans can catch-up on the show through the site's full episode player and to stream original music and performance clips from the cast.

Taking The Stage is conceptualized and executive produced by multiplatinum recording artist and actor Nick Lachey (former member of 98 Degrees, Charmed, NBC's Clash of the Choirs), an SCPA graduate. Colton Gramm, Mark Ford, Marc Platt and Kevin Lopez also serve as executive producers for the series. Liz Gateley executive produces the series for MTV and Heather Olander serves as the Executive In Charge of the series for the network.

About MTV

MTV is the dynamic, vibrant experiment at the intersection of music, creativity and youth culture. For over 26 years, MTV has evolved, challenged the norm, and detonated boundaries -- giving each new generation a creative outlet and voice that entertains, informs and unites on every platform and screen. On-air, MTV has been the number one rated 24 hour ad-supported cable network P12-24 for 16 straight years. Online, MTV.com scored double-digit growth in 2007 and MTV launched 15 dynamic online communities and eight new virtual worlds. On the go, MTV Mobile is the #1 music brand in the wireless space � delivering 90% more streams than in 2006. And MTV's successful sibling networks MTV2, mtvU and MTV Tr3s each deliver unprecedented customized content, super-serving music fans, college students and young American Latinos like no one else. MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.





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· TAKING THE STAGE (MTV)





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