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'COUNTDOWN AT THE NEON ARMADILLO' FROM BUENA VISTA TELEVISION PREMIERES FRIDAY, SEPT. 17

 Most Widely Cleared, Hour-Long, Non-Drama Premiere
 in Syndicated Television History
 Carrie Folks and John Burke Named to Host Weekly Countdown of


Country Music's Top 10 Songs Featuring Country's Hottest Performers
 BURBANK, Calif., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- With 98 percent coverage nationwide and 175 markets cleared, "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" -- showcasing the songs, the dances and the entertainers that are redefining country music in the '90s -- is poised for a precedent- setting premiere Friday, Sept. 17 (check local listings) as the most widely cleared, hour-long, non-drama premiere in the history of syndication, it was announced by Bob Jacquemin, President, Buena Vista Television.
 The series has cleared the top 50 markets as well as 97 of the top 100 markets, including New York/WNYW, Los Angeles/KCAL, Chicago/WGN, Philadelphia/WGBS, San Francisco/KOFY, Boston/WSBK, Washington/WJLA and Atlanta/WSB.
 This remarkable reception reflects the craze for country music, dancing and lifestyle that has swept the nation and become a pop culture phenomenon. "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" captures it all in a once-a-week television event, featuring today's hottest performers counting down Billboard Magazine's Top 10 country songs for the week, as well as one-of-a-kind, in-studio performances, the hot steps from country dance clubs nationwide, new music videos, and backstage profiles on established stars and artists with careers-in-the-making.
 Just named to host the series is young country singer, Carrie Folks, a former Miss Tennessee (1988) and accomplished stage performer, and television and film actor John Burke.
 "Carrie's roots are in country and she's a natural entertainer -- she has the talent, personality and charm that captivates both live and television audiences," said Amy Sacks, Senior Vice President, Programming, Buena Vista Productions, in making the announcement. "The touring and performing experiences that she's already accumulated in her young career are going to help her make a great contribution to the show.
 "John Burke also grew up surrounded by country influences," added Sacks, "and has a tremendous stage presence in addition to being a great country music fan."
 Folks and Burke will introduce the country artists performing each week on "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo"; Folks may occasionally duet with some of these established stars. As her own material makes its mark on the charts, she'll also take the spotlight with her own singles.
 As Miss Tennessee, 1988, Folks won the talent competition at the Miss America Pageant in 1989, and has pursued music studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Belmont College. Following the Miss America Pageant, Folks toured with the USO in the Far East. She has co-hosted and performed on the Variety Club International Telethon in Kansas City, Mo., for three years, appeared on The Nashville Network's popular "Nashville Now," and has starred in an original musical play, "Honky Tonk Angels."
 Burke grew up outside of Atlanta and after graduating with a degree in journalism from Georgia State University, worked briefly in broadcasting, hosting shows on Atlanta-area country music radio stations. He broke into acting in Georgia, and after guesting on "In the Heat of the Night," moved to Los Angeles to pursue a television and film career. He's since appeared on "Days of Our Lives" and co-stars in the upcoming NBC miniseries "Message from 'Nam."
 The first week of production on "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" has wrapped at the newly-created Neon Armadillo stage/theatre/club at the Disney-MGM Studios in Florida, and moves to Nashville's 328 Performance Hall at the end of August, before returning to Florida. Performers already booked on the series include Diamond Rio, Collin Raye, Lorrie Morgan, Sawyer Brown, Pam Tillis, John Anderson and Billy Dean. Upcoming guests include Mark Chesnutt, Doug Stone, Aaron Neville, Little Texas, John Michael Montgomery, Steve Wariner and Confederate Railroad.
 Forty-six hour-long episodes of "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" will be produced; 10 will be themed specials. The series is sold on an all-barter basis, with Buena Vista retaining seven minutes and seven minutes going to stations.
 Directing the series in Kent Weed; Tom Roland is series head writer. Executive producing the series is Don Weiner, producer of the highly rated network special "Best of Country '92: Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" which sparked the weekly series. "Countdown at the Neon Armadillo" is produced by BIP Productions Ltd. for distribution by Buena Vista Television.
 -0- 8/31/93
 /CONTACT: Laurel Whitcomb, 818-560-2740, or John Michaeli, 818-560-7565/


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

JB-LM -- LA022 -- 7570 08/31/93 14:23 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 31, 1993
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