UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - January 14, 2005 - What's it like to pack your bags and move from one of America's biggest cities to a tiny town in America's heartland - leaving behind your big city profession and way of life? And how will residents of a small farming community react to newcomers who don't have the slightest clue about country living? In CMT's new original series, POPULARITY CONTEST, 10 city slickers chuck the bright lights and the big city to immerse themselves in small town life, as they compete to be named the town's "most popular" resident. In a dramatic twist, all of the town's 936 residents have a chance to win a piece of the grand prize. But this is more than a simple fish-out-of-water tale; in some amazing ways, the town and many of the contestants are changed for the better. Hosted by Jonathan Torrens, POPULARITY CONTEST premieres Monday, April 11 at 10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT,* immediately following the live CMT 2005 MUSIC AWARDS. POPULARITY CONTEST will debut in its regular weekly time slot on Friday, April 15 at 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT.
The contestants hailing from big cities around the nation are dropped into the small town of Vega, Texas, where they live for 28 days. There is a chef, model, financial analyst, psychic, opera singer, major league baseball scout, professional cheerleader and business owner among the city slickers. In Vega, a farming town nestled along historic Route 66, contestants compete in character-revealing challenges as well as challenges that give back to the community including landscaping, fundraising and construction. The local residents hold bi-weekly town hall meetings for no-holds-barred discussions of the merits and flaws of each contestant. Ultimately only one winner is left standing.
"Vega has voted and your time in town is up," says host Torrens in each episode, as one by one the contestants are voted off and escorted out of town. "Take a moment to say goodbye to your friends."
The winner voted "most popular" is awarded $100,000. The twist? At the first town meeting the town's residents find out that they will be in contention for a piece of the prize. The person voted "most popular" will award a cash prize to the resident of his or her own choice. A game that begins with 10 contestants turns into a game played by the whole town.
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