Comedy takes inside look at boy band

By Frazier Moore

NEW YORK — Four hockey-loving teenage pals from the nation’s frigid heartland get a crack at music stardom as a boy band in sunny LA.

What a break! But the deal almost collapses when the excitable record exec, Gustavo Rocque, picks only one of the lads at an audition in their Minnesota hometown.

Unacceptable. On “Big Time Rush,” Nickelodeon’s new comedy series, an all-or-nothing pact unites these chums. They stand firm against Gustavo, who, after seething and ranting, agrees to sign them all. Almost before they can stash their hockey sticks, they’re heading west.

But once there, they discover that show-biz success calls for more than any old song-and-dance.

In fact, initially their song-and-dance needs a lot of improvement. Gustavo has to whip them into shape, and fast. Alas, they find more on their things-to-do list than catching rays by the pool and flirting with cute girls.

“The show is all about the wild ride these guys go on trying to achieve their dream while still remaining friends,” says Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of original programming and development.

“It’s also about learning how to take responsibility, having your friends’ backs, handling romantic crushes — all the kid issues, played out against a show-business background. The guys aren’t just handed the keys to the kingdom.”

With a comic-caper style, rousing spirit and snippets of music and dance, “Big Time Rush” is an engaging romp that should tickle the network’s core audience (ranging roughly between 6 and 14) — plus many parents. Fun is fun.

The series pilot, aired in November, snagged some 3.5 million viewers.

Now the 20-segment season debuts Monday at 8:30 p.m., as the lads discover, to their dismay, that their quest for a hit song won’t exempt them from hitting the books at school.

“Big Time Rush” was created by Scott Fellows, who already scored for Nickelodeon with the zany “Ned’s DeClassified School Survival Guide.” Like that series, “Rush” has sharp writing, snappy pacing, and it spoofs the entertainment industry with relish.

But the key to the show, of course, is its four stars-in-the-making: Kendall (played by Kendall Schmidt, “Gilmore Girls”); James (James Maslow, “iCarly”); Logan (Logan Henderson, “Friday Night Lights”); and Carlos (Carlos Pena, “Ned’s DeClassified School Survival Guide”).

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