Nickelodeon taps talented wannabe pop stars

Assembling a hit boy band is tough enough. Small wonder that it took 18 months and a nationwide search to find four teen guys who could not only sing but also act for Nickelodeon’s new comedy series “Big Time Rush,” about a group of wannabe pop stars who get the chance to make it big in the Los Angeles music scene.

“We didn’t want four kids who looked alike,” says Nick exec VP of original programming and development Marjorie Cohn. “Each one brought some of their personality to the table, which in turn inspired (creator) Scott (Fellows).”

The cast consists of Kansas-born lead singer Kendall Schmidt, “Making Menudo” finalist Carlos Pena, East Coast transplant James Maslow and relative newcomer Logan Henderson (“Friday Night Lights”). “When we saw these four together, it all just clicked,” she adds.

Cohn believes the show (which previewed last week after “iCarly” and launches in early 2010, featuring music from Columbia/Epic) taps into the “American Idol” zeitgeist of whish fulfillment and beating the odds. “We think kids and tweens will really relate to the boys and a really funny take on what happens the day after all your dreams come true. It’s classic Nickelodeon.”

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