- Associated Press - Monday, March 12, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - NBC’S “FASHION STAR”: NBC on Tuesday will debut “Fashion Star,” which is different from other fashion reality TV shows. That’s because the contestants compete to have their winning creations sold each week at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and H&M. So shoppers actually can buy the winning designs online that night and in the stores the next day. McCall’s will also sell sewing patterns.

THE TIMES: The 10-week reality TV series will air at 10 p.m., except for the premiere, which will run 9:30-11 p.m.

THE HOST: Elle Macpherson, lingerie designer and former model.

THE MENTORS: Singer Jessica Simpson, whose eponymous fashion business generates about $1 billion in annual sales; Nicole Richie, whose fashion business includes a new clothing line bearing her name for QVC; and menswear designer John Varvatos.

They offer advice on stage and behind the scenes, from steering contestants away from certain fabrics to pushing them to be original. In a twist on the genre, the mentors get to “save” contestants from elimination.

THE RETAIL JUDGES: The three retailers deliver the contestants their ultimate fate. They bid to purchase and exclusively carry one or more of the designer’s work they like. They are: H&M’s spokeswoman for its North American division Nicole Christie; Macy’s vice president and regional planning manager of women’s apparel Caprice Willard; and Saks‘ Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Terron Schaefer.

THE BIG WINNER: The final show has the three remaining contestants competing for the grand prize: a total of $6 million in orders for their designs from all three retailers.

THE 14 CONTESTANTS: They vary in age, from mid-20s to mid-50s. They also have diverse backgrounds, including a former school teacher and a former Microsoft software engineer.

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