CMT, cable television's country music channel, has announced it is helping Rooftop Comedy in its search for stand-up talent for the 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival with a partnership called "Next Big Comic."

It's not a TV series, mind you. Rather, Rooftop and CMT have put clips online from 12 up-and-coming stand-up comedians on a CMT page called "Next Big Comic." They'll be taking your votes for your favorites online, and each week narrow the field and introduce new clips from the remaining contestants. The field of 12 becomes eight on Feb. 15, then a final four on Feb. 22. Voting on the finalists continues through CMT's "Big New Comedy Week" on March 8, in which the network will feature clips of the four contestants in between specials from folks such as Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan. The winner will be revealed March 15. As far as I can tell, the prize is performing at Rooftop's Aspen festival in June.

But who are these 12 contestants? Go to CMT's Next Big Comic and watch clips, then vote from among: Josh Sneed, Dwayne Perkins, Chad Daniels, Keith Alberstadt, Jessi Campbell, Jamie Lissow, Pete Lee, John Ramsey, Roy Wood Jr., Andy Ritchie, Lachlan Patterson and Ryan Singer. Good luck, all.

Quotes from a press release? Sure, you bet:

‚ÄúCMT fans love to laugh, and we have just the cast of comics to help them do that,‚Äù said Lewis Bogach, Vice President of Production at CMT.  ‚ÄúThis partnership with Rooftop Comedy is a great way to bring our audience more of the content they love, while giving these undiscovered comics a national audience."

‚ÄúWe couldn‚Äôt be more excited to be working with CMT to help find America‚Äôs Next Big Comic,‚Äù said Will C. Rogers, CEO of Rooftop Comedy.  ‚ÄúRecording from our nationwide network of comedy clubs gives us a unique opportunity to identify comics on the verge of really taking off.  Now this competition gives America the opportunity to see ‚Äì and determine ‚Äì who is going to be the next big star.‚Äù