You may think your kid's a star. But Danny Bonaduce knows otherwise on VH1's "I Know My Kid's a Star," premiering tonight (9 ET/PT).
Bonaduce, the former child star turned adult terror, is host, judge and jury for "Star," an eight-week reality competition that will attempt to determine which child -- and parent -- has what it takes to make it in Hollywood. The winners receive $50,000 and representation by talent agent Marki Costello.
"It's not just finding the most talented kid, but the parent who can help navigate a career. It's a package deal," says Bonaduce, the smart-aleck pre-teen Danny on the '70s sitcom "The Partridge Family."
Reality-show producer 3 Ball Productions ("The Biggest Loser") rented a house in the Hollywood Hills for a month, sequestering 10 children and parents in a sort of talent boot camp for both. The kids are put through a series of acting and performing roles, while parents cajole them and bicker among themselves.
"I don't want to be cruel, (but) some of these kids don't have talent," says Bonaduce, who has a daily radio show on Los Angeles station KLSX and was the focus of his own train-wreck, drug-addled reality series "Breaking Bonaduce" in 2005. "Some of the parents watched them as if they'd performed brain surgery. But some of these kids perform like they're at a sixth-grade dance."
Judging by the first episode, there are plenty of potential fireworks. B-movie actress Melissa "Rocky" Brasselle, a miniskirted mom trying to propel 10-year-old daughter Hayley to stardom, clashes with the prim Pam Wold, who has spent $35,000 trying to fulfill 12-year-old daughter Mary Jo's "dream" of becoming a star.
There's also plenty of parental pressure on the kids. "Don't you want that big house?" Rocky asks Hayley after the kid muffs the words to a song. "My mom has kind of been driving me up a wall," Hayley says out of earshot of Rocky.
"I Know My Kid's a Star's" initial concept was more documentary than reality show, says 3 Ball executive J.D. Roth. But the elimination-style competition format was considered more viewer-friendly. It evolved as the show's runners began casting, finding parents "willing to go to the end of the Earth to do anything for their kids," Roth says.
"The thing that caught us off guard is the show is more about parents than the kids," says Roth, who, like Bonaduce, was a child actor. "And it's less about the kid being talented than it is about the parent thinking the kid is going to be the next big star."