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PRODUCTION BEGINS ON 'COUNTDOWN AT THE NEON ARMADILLO' -- THE NEW SYNDICATED SERIES FROM BUENA VISTA TELEVISION

 Country's Hottest Performers -- John Anderson, Sawyer Brown, Mark Chesnutt, Diamond Rio, Little Texas, Lorrie Morgan, Collin Raye,
 Doug Stone and Pam Tillis -- Count Down the Hits from
 Orlando's Neon Armadillo Theater and Music City USA
 BURBANK, Calif., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo," the weekly series showcasing the songs, the dances and the entertainers that are re-defining country music in the '90s, begins production Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the newly-created Neon Armadillo stage/theater/club at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Fla., and moves on to Nashville's 328 Club Aug. 30 and 31, it was announced today by Amy Sacks, senior vice president, programming, Buena Vista Television. "We've assembled some of the most exciting, energetic and creative young talent from Nashville to direct, choreograph and write this series," said Sacks in making the announcement. "They're joining executive producer Don Weiner, who produced the highly rated two-hour network special that sparked our series, to help us throw the spotlight on the superstars of country and the new artists who are just breaking on the charts, on their way to stardom."
 Premiering Friday, Sept. 17 in syndication nationwide (check local listings), the series is the place to catch today's hottest country performers as they count down the nation's Top 10 country songs each week, provided by Billboard magazine. Each episode will feature one-of- a-kind, in-studio performances, the hot steps from country dance clubs nationwide, new music videos and backstage profiles on established stars, as well as artists with careers-in-the-making.
 Country performers heading to Orlando for the first week of taping include Collin Raye, Diamond Rio, Clay Walker, Shania Twain, Bobbie Cryner, Larry Boone and Dude Mowrey. At the end of August, Lorrie Morgan, Sawyer Brown, Pam Tillis, Deborah Allen, Stephanie Davis, Matthews, Wright & King and John Anderson will be among the artists taping special performances of their current hits at Nashville's 328 Club, with country sensation Billy Dean hosting segments with Music City's most popular and successful songwriters. During September, taping back at the Disney-MGM Studios will feature Mark Chesnutt, Doug Stone, Chris LeDoux, Little Texas, the Gibson Miller Band, Mark Collie, Aaron Neville and Shawn Camp. Upcoming guests include John Michael Montgomery, Highway 101, Steve Wariner and Confederate Railroad.
 Highlighting this weekly country event is the energetic, young troop of 10 "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" dancers, headed by Nashville choreographer Kaylee Scott, an artistic director/founder of the Nashville Dance Project and a featured dancer in numerous country music videos (Dolly Parton's "Romeo," Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart"). Selected via auditions in Nashville, Orlando and Los Angeles, the Countdown dancers will perform all the popular and new steps that have made country dancing a "cutting edge," urban phenomenon.
 Directing the series is Kent Weed (son of Academy of Country Music President Gene Weed) whose recent credits include "Roundhouse" for Nickelodeon; "Farm Aid"; "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and "Smothers Brothers Thanksgiving" for CBS; and "What Happened," the NBC series hosted by Ken Howard. Tom Roland, author of "The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits," is series head writer.
 The new "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" set at the Disney-MGM Studios is designed as a theater and club facility -- capturing the contemporary country look of today's dance clubs. Half the seating area has been turned into a dance floor, allowing the audience to be part of the show during each week's taping.
 Executive producing the series is Don Weiner, producer of the network special "Best of Country '92: Countdown at the Neon Armadillo," as well as a number of star-studded specials and series including "Showtime at the Apollo," "Uptown Comedy Club," and "That's What Friends are For."
 Forty-six hour-long episodes of "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" will be produced; 10 will be one-hour themed specials. The series is sold on an all-barter basis, with Buena Vista retaining 7 minutes and 7 minutes going to stations. "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" is produced by BIP Productions Ltd. for distribution by Buena Vista Television.
 -0- 8/9/93
 /CONTACT: Laurel Whitcomb of Buena Vista Television, 818-560-2740/


CO: Buena Vista Television ST: California IN: ENT SU:

JB-MF -- LA009 -- 0662 08/09/93 10:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 9, 1993
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