01/04/2011 AT 10:00 AM ET
Of the many hyphens between Paula Abdul’s career turns – Laker Girl-choreographer-singer-American Idol judge – she most loves the latest: producer of the new reality show competition Live To Dance, which premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
“You have to be true to who you are,” Abdul, 48, tells PEOPLE. “I am my brand. I lead with my heart. I have tremendous expertise behind the scenes helping build, mold and shape other performers to help them take flight. I’ve learned from some of the best there is in the business on the technical side, so for me being a producer is a deep-rooted passion.”