Industry Insiders Suzie McNeil, Christopher Ward and Steve Cranwell Sign Up as Series Mentors Auditions Begin May 17 in Halifax (Toronto, Canada) Leading Toronto-based producer and distributor Tricon Films & Television and Corus EntertainmentÕs YTV are pleased to announce that Adamo Ruggiero (Degrassi: The Next Generation) will be the host of The Next Star premiering Friday, July 18 at 6 p.m. ET/PT. Joining him in the search for CanadaÕs fresh, young talents are musician Suzie McNeil (Rockstar: INXS), songwriter Christopher Ward and music marketing exec Steve Cranwell, who will mentor the performers throughout the series. The Next Star auditions begin in Halifax on Saturday, May 17 at the World Trade and Convention Centre. More auditions will take place in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary. Hopefuls can visit for more information on the audition process, rules and regulations. A Mississauga, Ontario native, Ruggiero is best known for his role as Marco on the hit TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation. As host, Ruggiero will walk viewers through the audition process as The Next Star hits the road, providing support and direction to the six aspiring participants. ÒWe are thrilled to have Adamo Ruggiero as host of The Next Star,Ó said Executive Producer Andrea Gorfolova. ÒAdamo is a national role model and his talent and energy make him a perfect choice. His inspiration will surely capture the spirit of The Next Star.Ó ÒIÕve been performing for most of my life and I look forward to my role as host on The Next Star,Ó said Ruggiero. ÒIt will be a pleasure to help this talented group of performers prepare for the sometimes tough entertainment industry experience.Ó Each participant will have personal mentoring from industry insiders. Susie McNeil, the last woman standing on CBSÕs Rockstar: INXS, has signed on as one of The Next Star professional mentors. McNeilÕs single ÒBelieveÓ was recently selected by Bell Canada as the official song for the 2010 Olympic Games. McNeil has also had songs featured on the popular series The Hills and OprahÕs Big Give. ÒMusic has been such an integral part of my life, from the moment I was born,Ó said McNeil. ÒSo the chance to help mentor young kids is a dream for me. I canÕt wait to watch these talented young singers grow into stars right before my eyes.Ó Christopher Ward, CanadaÕs first VJ, MuchMusic veteran and writer of Alannah MylesÕ hit single ÒBlack VelvetÓ will also bring his talents to The Next Star mentorship team. Music industry marketing exec Steven Cranwell, former Senior Vice President of Marketing at Universal Music Canada, will also be giving his expert advice to The Next Star performers. Tricon Films & Television is a full-service production and distribution company focused on producing and representing contemporary, progressive and internationally viable television programming. Tricon represents an extensive catalogue of lifestyle, reality and magazine series – as well as shorts, documentaries, and dramatic programs. We continue to acquire third-party material for international distribution. TriconÕs successes over the years have included distribution of popular in-house shows such as Matchmaker and Restaurant Makeover. YTV, now in its 20th year, is a leading entertainment brand for kids in Canada. The network is seen in over eight million homes. As a major force in kidsÕ entertainment, YTV has triggered over $1 billion in Canadian independent production; has a highly interactive website that averages over 90 million monthly page views; publishes a successful kidsÕ magazine, Whoa!; and conducts a highly respected annual survey, The YTV Tween Report. YTV is owned by Corus Entertainment, a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in specialty television and radio with additional assets in pay television, advertising and digital audio services, television broadcasting, childrenÕs book publishing and childrenÕs animation. The companyÕs multimedia entertainment brands include YTV, Treehouse, W Network, Movie Central, Nelvana, Kids Can Press and radio stations including CKNW, CKOI and Q107. Corus creates engaging branded entertainment experiences for its audiences across multiple platforms. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York (CJR) exchanges. Experience Corus on the web at -30- For a high-resolution image of Adamo Ruggiero, please visit: For more information, please contact: Jacqueline Nuwame Eventide Media Unit Publicist (416) 533-0149 or (416) 554-4348 Molly Merrick YTV Publicist Corus Entertainment (416) 530-2247