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Sam Riddle Remembers Al

Al & Sam at the 25th Anniversary Star Search Reunion 2008

As with all his successful concepts and series, Al Masini knew the timing was right to produce a new and innovative New Talent Show! But unlike the early amateur talent shows on radio and the beginning of television, this one had to be something totally unique and different. Thus, the beginning of STAR SEARCH.

This would also become the greatest opportunity and experience of my life and career as the Producer chosen by Al. How did he make Star Search different? First, it would not only be Singers, but Dancers, Comedians, Actors, Juniors, Teens, Groups and Models, all on the same show. And he also created a new word in the English language… ”Spokesmodel.”

The day after the first airing that new word made the front page of the Chicago Suns Times! And today, many of the top competition-entertainment series such as American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Next Top Model and Last Comic Standing are each a category of Star Search.

The beginning did not happen overnight. Al was constantly thinking and re-structuring the competition format. I would receive calls at 6:30 AM many mornings, with Al asking “are you up?” He wanted to discuss timings, formats, wardrobe, hosts, music etc. Needless to say, his tenacity and goal of perfection was not only a learning experienced for me, but the beginning of a 13 year Ratings Success Story.

It was also the beginning of success for Sam Harris, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Alanis Morissette, Rosie O’Donnell, Brad Garret, Ray Romano, Dennis Miller, Jenny Jones, Linda Eder and
hundreds more. Even though we had talent scouts throughout the nation, Al would always have the final approval before any performer was confirmed. He always respected and admired fine new talent.

As we said on Star Search, “Will it be the CHAMP…….OR THE CHALLENGER?” Al Masini always loved a Challenge, and he will always be my Champ!

Sam Riddle, Producer, Star Search