1 9 8 5 (Australia)
60 minute episodes
Star Search pitched two entertainers against each other for a prize of $1,000 and an invitation to appear again on the show. The categories were male vocal, female vocal, rock bands, comedy, dance, male acting, female acting and “spokesmodels” (beautiful models who also spoke on the show).
All the contestants were established professionals – Star Search was not for bumbling amateurs. so unlike previous talent shows like New Faces, contestants were spared the indignity of assassination by the judges.
Still, half the acts were “losers” and left the studio with dents in their professional egos.
Contestants were judged by a panel of people from the industry, such as actor Graeme Blundell, singer Sharon O’Neill and fashion designer Wendy Heather.
Winners in each category walked away with $1,000 cash and returned for the finals which carried $5,000 prizes for each performer.
The “losers” earned a $220 appearance fee, which in many cases was more than they earned from a regular professional engagement.
But more important than the money was the exposure on national television.