From classic “The Ed Sullivan Show” to current “America’s Got Talent,” and the countless programs in between, the shared category of talent and variety in primetime has never deviated in relevance. While often more of a competitive nature at present (in a more fractionalized broadcasting environment, no doubt), the root of any talent showcase is the pedigree of the performances. And, in homage to the granddaddy of the genre, The CW has stepped to the plate with a new entry from Emmy Award-winning Associated Television International (ATI) called “The Big Stage.”
“The Big Stage” debuted on Friday, June 7th at 9 p.m. ET with back-to-back half-hour episodes out of returning “Masters of Illusion” (which is also from ATI).
Hosted by Elizabeth Stanton (“Elizabeth Stanton’s Great Big World,” “This Just In”) and James Maslow (“Big Time Rush”), “The Big Stage” features five or six acts per each telecast. Included are singers, dancers, comedians, jugglers, acrobats, ventriloquists and more, each with the goal to simply entertain.
“These performers are the best at what they do, so there is no competition,” said Elizabeth Stanton at the opening of the series. “Just amazing entertainment.”
“’The Big Stage’ is a tip of the hat to the variety shows of days gone by,” noted Cyle Zezo, Executive Director, Alternative and Digital Programming, The CW. “We are thrilled to showcase such a diverse array of talent and acts in a non-competitive environment.”
Dangerous performances, incredible dancers, stand-up comedy, escapist entertainment and more are featured on “The Big Stage” via an assemblage of talented and unique artists from all over the world. But, unlike “America’s Got Talent” (and other reality/competitions) there is no pressure to win or to be judged.
“The worst thing to do is to call a performer we want and mention our show has a competitive element,” noted “The Big Stage” executive producer David Martin. “We don’t want to eliminate anyone; we want to showcase them. And when they hear this is not a competition they want to do it.”
“Our intention is offer all types of entertainment in a format we know will resonate,” added Martin. “As history shows, there is a huge place for it on television.”
“The Ed Sullivan Show” on Steroids
“The Ed Sullivan Show,” which aired on CBS from 1948 to 1971 (and was originally called “Toast of the Town”) was truly the quintessential variety/talent showcase with acts for all members of the family to enjoy. “This really big shew,” as Sullivan enunciated it, featured virtually every type of entertainment by both newcomers and established names. And it was never short of entertainers (including introducing acts and airing breakthrough performances by musicians in the caliber of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones).
In more recent years, talent showcases became more of a competition courtesy of entries like “Star Search” and, this season, “The World’s Best” and “America’s Got Talent.” Then there are talent specific vehicles like “American Idol,” “The X Factor,” “The Masked Singer” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Big Stage” offers a weekly arena for new and established talent. Only this time, the two hosts, Elizabeth Stanton and James Maslow, also specifically appeal to the millennial generation.
“Talent showcases are nothing unusual, particularly in the summer,” noted media analyst Brad Adgate. “But what I do immediately like about ‘The Big Stage’ is its ability to highlight the talent without having a performer eliminated each week. In the complicated world of today, I think a positive show of this magnitude offers a great deal for both the viewers and the advertisers.”
“The talent pool for a series like this is endless,” noted David Martin. “And some may be used more than once. We want our viewers to come to know these performers as the seasons progress.”
Said Elizabeth Stanton in an interview with Popstar! Magazine: “The acts are all amazing in their own way – totally diverse and unique – and some of them are so dangerous! The performers were from all over the world too. We had a roller skating trio from the Ukraine; a world class juggler from Texas; some hard-hitting hip hop West Coast dance crews; hilarious comedians from all over the country… the list goes on!”
She’s Got the Look…and a Growing Resume
Named one of the top 10 actresses of the year by Popstar!, Elizabeth Stanton got her first break as a teenager as host of aforementioned “Elizabeth Stanton’s Great Big World.” Heading into season nine, the series features Stanton traveling around the world and exploring different destinations with a variety of celebrity friends on the Fox Station Group in national syndication.
Stanton also starred in her own sitcom for Pop TV, Emmy Award-nominated “This Just In,” which debuted in 2016 and was named one of the top 10 shows of the year by Popstar! She hosts her own daily show on Popstar! TV called “Popstar This Week,” which features celebrity interviews and stories of a pop culture nature. And she is presently featured in the new syndicated drama, “The Agency.”
Stanton also serves as a spokesperson for print, commercials and radio worldwide for “Popstar” magazine. In the latter capacity Stanton represents the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. During the holiday season in December, Stanton has also served as a worldwide Special Guest Host of the Hollywood Christmas Parade from ATI.
“Elizabeth Stanton, no doubt, is a recognizable personality in the millennial world,” noted Brad Adgate. “Adding ‘The Big Stage’ to her resume will only broaden her appeal. She acts and she hosts, and for an advertiser looking to reach a certain young demographic she has a built-in appeal.”
Coupled with “Masters of Illusion” (which was recently featured in a 21st anniversary special on The CW, hosted by Dean Cain), “The Big Stage” is the perfect title for a show this ambitious. And for The CW this summer, Friday is certainly a “really big shew.”
For more information on “The Big Stage,” click here