Saltbox TV, a new ad-supported streaming service for older adults, is launching a talent series dubbed “Silver Stars.”
The show will put a fresh spin on a formula popularized by the likes of “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” by focusing on contenders who are all over the age of 65. To select the winners, Saltbox has enlisted Ed Asner of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Lou Grant.” In coordination with Saltbox’s executive team, Asner and company will choose three to five performers to travel to Georgia for a “one-night only live performance.” Asner is also serving as brand ambassador for the service.
Saltbox is the brainchild of Patty Carver, an actress and writer, and Jerry Goehring, the producer of Broadway shows such as “A Christmas Story, the Musical” and “Be More Chill.” The channel already offers movies, documentaries and other programming, but this is the first show that’s being produced in-house.
“We’re trying to make Saltbox a destination for this community to go where they can find the kind of entertainment that they enjoy,” says Carver. “We dismiss older adults here, but it’s not like that in other countries. These are vibrant adults who still have a lot to offer.”
“Silver Stars” hopefuls can submit a 60-second video before Sept. 6 to be considered. The show will highlight the performer’s lives, experiences and journeys. Besides the entrants themselves, anyone with a talented parent, grandparent or other older adult in their life is encouraged to submit on that person’s behalf. A host for the show will be announced shortly. The goal, Carver and Goehring say, is to shine a light on a talent base constantly overlooked in favor of something shiny and new.
“What we discovered is there’s a lot of ageism in Hollywood and ageism in the arts,” says Goehring. “It doesn’t make sense. It’s the country’s largest demographic and they have the most expendable income, but there’s not a lot of programming for them. We want to change that.”
The show’s pilot episode will premiere this holiday season. Saltbox TV will announce a celebrity host and Broadway creative team in the coming weeks. The company is growing organically, backed by private investors. It has four shows in development — three scripted series and one unscripted — and has spent much of the pandemic perfecting its platform. That includes technology that enables users to access Saltbox TV without having to remember passwords.
“We didn’t want any passwords,” says Goehring. “There are so many of them. It’s hard to keep track.”
They’re hoping that actors like Asner, who is 91, will find a home for their talents with Saltbox.
“These performers want to continue to create and tell stories,” says Goehring. “They want to work and no one is giving them the chance. We want to celebrate older people. They have been quarantined for a long time and we want to show that they aren’t forgotten. I can’t lobby Washington, I can’t change the world, but I can create entertainment.”