sing off season 3 'The Sing Off' tackles a longer season, tries to keep results quietAfter two seasons of increasingly successful limited runs in December, “The Sing-Off” will take a big step up when it becomes part of NBC’s regular schedule in the fall.

How big a step? Well, Season 3 will run for 11 episodes, which is more than the first two seasons combined. The vote of confidence from NBC came after ratings for Season 2, which aired in December 2010, jumped 28 percent over the show’s inaugural run, and executive producer Joel Gallen looks at it the extra time as an opportunity.

“The first thing I think about is now we can have more groups,” Gallen said Monday (Aug. 1) at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We’ve gone from 10 groups to 16 groups, so that’s a big thing. Also, I think we can go across more genres of music. We have 11 episodes, so we can do a cappella interpretations of everything from rock to country and hip-hop.”

Gallen also says that if the judges keep a particular group around because of the potential they see, that group will then have more time to prove them right (or wrong), and that “will make for entertaining television as well.”

“The Sing-Off” has already begun taping episodes and will have much of the season in the can before it premieres on Sept. 19. Gallen says the early tapings are done to “maximize the best a cappella groups available,” since a number of them are either students who have to go back to school in a few weeks or people who have regular jobs and sing “as a labor of love.”

That also means a higher potential for spoilers to leak, but Gallen isn’t overly worried, pointing to shows like “Survivor” and “Project Runway” that also tape most or all of their seasons in advance.

“People are on the honor system,” Gallen says. “We have a non-disclosure type of thing” — for both participants and the studio audience — “and I think everybody’s in the spirit of the show. They know it’s important to keep the results under wraps.”

Posted by:Rick Porter