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The new rock version of 'Glee'
The CW Network is developing a harder-edged competitor to the massively popular Fox show. Will imitation breed success?
Will "The Prickly Spheres" be more convincingly gritty that the "Glee" girls' recent attempt to rock out?
Will "The Prickly Spheres" be more convincingly gritty that the "Glee" girls' recent attempt to rock out?
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uccess always inspires imitation, and the inevitable knockoffs of "Glee," Fox's smash musical-comedy, are starting to appear. On Tuesday, New York reported that The CW Network, home to youth-oriented shows like "Gossip Girl" and "America's Next Top Model," is developing a rock-themed variation on "Glee" tentatively titled "The Prickly Spheres." Can this upstart co-opt its inspiration's cultural cachet? Here's a brief guide:

What is the new show's premise?

While "Glee" frequently pays homage to the Broadway musical style, "The Prickly Spheres" will reportedly be less florid, centering around a "struggling Minneapolis rock band led by a classical music virtuoso who shirks his acceptance to Julliard in order to play in the band."

Who's behind it?
The new show is being developed in part by Jeff Kwatinetz, a music biz impressario who has worked with Britney Spears, was once engaged to the recently deceased actress Brittany Murphy, and "now manages a strange nostalgic assortment of bands including Ice Cube, Backstreet Boys and R. Kelly." Kwatinetz's production partner at "red hot" production company Prospect Park Entertainment is Rich Frank, who is behind cable hits like USA's "Royal Pains."

What's the prognosis?
Early reactions are mixed.
If, as rumored, the show's protagonist is essentially "Glee's" uptight Rachel Berry but "with a guitar," then "yuck," says Kelsea Stahler at Hollywood.com. "I'm hoping they're going to dig a little deeper on this one." On the other hand, Kwatinetz's involvement is "promising," and Minnesota is a great place for new music. It's too bad the show won't draw on its producer's own "wild" music-business adventures, says Josef Adalian at New York, "but that doesn't mean this show still couldn't be fun." It certainly sounds "more edgy than 'Glee,'" says Anna Breslaw at Ology, but since the Fox hit is a "sugary ball of candy-colored pop goodness," that's not saying much.

Sources: Hollywood.com, The Hairpin, New York, Ology

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