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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singers Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine will return for a second season of "The Voice," which is ailing network NBC's most successful new show in years.
NBC said on Thursday that all four "coaches," who help the contestants hone their skills in the music talent contest, would take part in a second season, but the network did not say exactly when the new set of shows would begin.
Some industry watchers speculate that NBC may try to challenge Fox's juggernaut "American Idol" when it returns to airwaves in the winter of 2012.
"Our fantastic coaches were integral to the tremendous success of 'The Voice' this year and we are thrilled that they are all returning," said Paul Telegdy, head of alternative programing at NBC. "We look forward to building season two and making 'The Voice' an even greater experience for fans."
NBC's announcement came a day after 10.8 million Americans tuned in to see soulful singer Javier Colon win the contest, a $100,000 prize and a recording contract.
The contest brings a fresh twist to the plethora of TV talent searches by having the four celebrities mentor contestants, sing live with them, and occasionally perform together as a quartet. It has almost doubled viewership at NBC in its time period, compared to a year ago.
Wednesday's two-hour finale also gave NBC its highest non-sports rating among the 18-49 age group most coveted by advertisers since January 2008, the network said.
In addition, it has also boosted the commercial fortunes of singers Aguilera and Green, country star Shelton and Maroon 5 frontman Levine.
All four currently have tracks in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, while Colon and runner-up Dia Frampton were top of the iTunes singles charts on Thursday.
"The Voice" came too late to rescue NBC from bottom place among the leading four U.S. networks for the official 2010-11 TV season that ended in May.
But the network has high hopes for 2012. "The Voice" will get a major showcase in February immediately after the Super Bowl -- the biggest sports and TV event of the year.
NBC on Thursday declined to specify when "The Voice" will return, other than to say it will resume in "mid-season" which could mean roughly anytime in the first few months of 2012.
That leaves the door open for a slot any time between January and May, and a possible direct challenge to "American Idol" which drew more than 29 million viewers for its 2011 finale and remains the most popular show in the United States.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte