“Platinum Hit” Hosts Jewel and Kara DioGuardi Give Tunemakers a Turn

Nicole Wilder/Bravo

With so many TV reality competitions on the hunt for the next superstar singer, shouldn’t someone also be looking for people to pen their songs?

That’s where Bravo’s “Platinum Hit” comes in. Debuting May 30 on Bravo, singer/songwriter Jewel and songwriter/former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi host a slightly different type of talent search, hoping to cultivate a new generation of behind-the-scenes hitmaker. Twelve aspiring song scribes will sharpen their skills to vie for $100,000 and publishing and recording deals.

“I think it's rare to find somebody that is a great singer and a great songwriter,” says Jewel. “In this show we're not looking for people to be great singers, with their own record deals. What we were really passionate about was trying to find people, and more important, reveal a very insular world that not a lot of people get to see, ever. There's a world of just hitmakers out there. All they do is write hit songs for other people. We're looking for someone that can write a hit for Carrie Underwood or write a hit for any artist out there. And we ran them through the paces. They had to be able to write rap, R&B, country, pop.”

“Songs are the backbone of the music industry, and this show is about finding hit songs,” agrees DioGuardi. “And there isn't an artist out there that can survive in the music industry without hit songs. And it's true to life, it really is. That's how Jewel and I met. I was a hitmaker, for any other word, and they said ‘Do you want to go write with Jewel?’ And you have a few minutes to impress that artist. You don't have a lot of time. And really it's one of the hardest jobs in the world. Hit songs are few and far between.”

The setup shows the unique ways songscribes crack those potential chart-topping tunes. “These contestants get together in groups of however many – two to four people – and then they co-write,” explains Jewel. “And you really see this very honest process, because you can't fake your way through writing a song.  It's a really revealing, really dramatic process to see people bring their guts out and try and write a hit song for people. Every single challenge that was designed for these people was designed what it's really like in the industry.”

The results will be evaluated by a collection of guest judges and mentors, including Leona Lewis, "Unwritten" singer Natasha Bedingfield, Donna Summer, Jermaine Dupri, British singer/produce Taio Cruz and singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Tedder.

“I would have killed for this opportunity when I was coming up,” admits Jewel. “You get to write in every style and really stretch your wings and get to be mentored by people in the business who can really help you understand how to work this business and that it takes a lot of people skills. It takes a lot just beyond being willing to get in a room and show off what you think your writing skills are. It's an amazing opportunity that I'm really excited we get to offer people, because I would have loved to participate in it.”

“There's a lot at stake, so it's not just the process,” adds DioGuardi. “It's also watching these young artists or creative people negotiate with each other. They don't know each other, and it's a very odd thing to watch. But it happens in real life. I could very well get into a room with someone I don't know, and for three hours it's like we're totally vulnerable.”

“It's lucrative, by the way,” Jewel points out. “To have a number one hit on pop radio is worth anywhere between half a million and $4 million. It's a big-money market – it's like gold mining.”

“Yeah, I bought my house from it,” laughs DioGuardi. “That's for damn sure.”

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