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Sometimes singer, always rapper Queen Latifah has sustained a long, successful career in music. Now she’s ready to pass the torch. MTV News reports that Latifah will be mentoring/judging the CW’s The Star Next Door, an American Idol-esque reality show, where mentors will fly to small towns scouting for talent. The spin here is that the mentors/judges, who also include Gloria Estefan and John Rich (of country outfit Big & Rich), will become part of the contestants’ lives on their own turf.

While the concept was started by Dave Broome of The Biggest Loser fame, the Hollywood Reporter reports that Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit and CBS’ Raquel / 25/7 Productions will co-produce the series, slated for a summer release. The series can go one of two ways—an unexpected failure a la X-Factor or a huge success a la The Voice. Either way, it shouldn’t aim for current American Idol ratings (since Idol’s clearly jumped the shark).

From music to film, modeling, voiceovers and television (since the early days with Living Single), Queen Latifah’s career has seen constant evolution. While The Star Next Door is one of a few Flavor Unit Productions (including BET’s Let’s Stay Together and VH1’s Single Ladies), there may be more from Flavor Unit and Latifah on the small screen very soon. She and one-time boyfriend (on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air that is) Will Smith will be producing a daytime talk show with Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures TV. Talk about a Renaissance Woman.



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