Gene-Simmons400 Seems like KISS frontman Gene Simmons is no fan of reality show competitions where judges coddle contestants rather than being honest.

“You can’t sugarcoat s–t, pardon me. You can mentor anyone you like, but it’s a waste of time if they don’t have the goods intrinsically,” Simmons told The Hollywood Reporter at MIPCOM where he’s launching his new reality format Coliseum from Sierra/Engine Television.

Simmons is putting his own spin on the TV competition show genre by getting tough on contestants. Why? Because the music industry, like life itself, is cutthroat.

“Your qualification for being on this show is you can sing in the shower? Is that it, without paying any dues or writing songs or any stagecraft?” he questioned. Coliseum sees Simmons, who recently entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, challenging contestants to form rock bands with a winning musical voice and performance.

The KISS bassist will motivate evolving acts before they perform in front of an audience. “We want to open the trap doors of life and get tough. There will be heartbreak, and people are going to cry and their dreams will be shattered, just like in real life,” he said.

Simmons understands what leads singing competition show judges to nurture talent, rather than offer harsh and honest evaluations. “TV shows are fantasy because they’re selling soap suds. It’s family entertainment, it’s primetime, the kids are there, and they [broadcasters] don’t want to get too realistic,” he said.

But Coliseum will prize image over voice when judging talent. “We want to create superstars, not just singers that get record deals,” Simmons said. The other twist is that Coliseum will mix and match artists that contend on the show to find the perfect musical act.


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  • Lee on

    Maybe Cousin Brucie can be a judge…Gene was a professional musician when LBJ was president and WABC ruled NYC. Rascals first guests.

  • Joe Pensanti on

    LOVE GUN 2 disc set out Oct. 27th…includes unreleased demos, etc…glad I didn’t buy KISS 40 just for “Reputation”, because it’s on this set…hopefully the other classic records will get the same treatment.

  • Patrick on

    “Family Jewels” was every bit as formulaic, derivative and trend-following as every other “reality” show out there. This next one will be the same. Gene Simmons/KISS hasn’t been original since 1978. From 1979 onward, they have been following the trends that “work” for them, claiming the “cutting edge” angle.
    Cutting edge involves total risk, which Gene/KISS has not been willing to do since “The Elder”, and even then, they didn’t think it was a risk – it was genius (We know what the Court of Fan Opinion decided on that one.). Everything since then has been very calculated damage control. “Lick It Up” through “Hot…” (emulated other pop/metal/rock bands)

  • Gary on

    The ONLY thing I agree with Gene about is how “sugar-coated” these singing shows are. No matter how bad someone is, they always tell them “you’ve got potential”, or “you try so hard, you’re wonderful”. I’d rather be told I stink right off, rather than receive a horrible let-down in front of potentially millions of people later on. Bring back Simon Cowell; at least he was honest & didn’t molly-coddle contestants!

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