Reality competition series American Beauty Star debuts on Lifetime Sept. 21, with contestants facing off on hair and makeup challenges and fighting to be America’s next beauty star. The show comes from executive producer Norton Herrick.

“The idea is to educate, inform and inspire viewers about what it really takes to make it in the beauty industry,” says Herrick, who says the seed of the idea came from his granddaughters. “So many people want to know how to become the next beauty influencer.”

Other executive producers are Ross Elliott, Adriana Lima, who also hosts, and Christian Murphy and Colleen Conway Grogan of A&E Networks.

Herrick is behind Herrick Entertainment, which produces films and Broadway shows in addition to TV series. Film projects have included 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg and Lone Survivor, also starring Wahlberg. Theatrical productions include SpiderMan: Turn Off the Dark and Hair, both which ran on Broadway.

American Beauty Star is the company’s first venture into reality TV.

Herrick is also involved in real estate and building, including construction of power plants and hospitals. He says American Beauty Star represents the first time his wife has shown interest in one of his projects. “She’s all excited about it—that’s got to say something,” he quips.

Makeup artist Sir John is the mentor on the show, and former Vogue beauty director Sarah Brown and photographer Russell James are the judges. Christie Brinkley and singer Michelle Williams are lined up to be guests. American Beauty Star leads out of Project Runway, and Herrick says they are similar—Project Runway focuses on clothes, and American Beauty Star on hair and makeup.

It was at a family gathering that Herrick says his three granddaughters asked him if there was a beauty show on TV, and he saw an opening. “I have no clue why other folks have missed this opportunity,” he says. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity.”

Herrick says a few margaritas will go down nicely at the American Beauty Star premiere party. He’s got a new appreciation for building a TV show after having gone through the process with American Beauty Star.

“It makes building a 20-story building or a power plant look like nothing,” says Herrick.