Category Archives: Dancing with the Stars

Turning Over the Keys: Musical Guests in Reality Competition Programming

Turning Over the Keys: Musical Guests in Reality Competition Programming

July 9th, 2010

LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in the fall isn’t half as interesting as his choice (nay, demand) to announce this decision on live television after twenty-eight minutes of hilariously awful build-up in which television sports journalism lost a great deal of credibility. Frankly put, ESPN had no idea how to string together a show around such a crass act of self-promotion, which to their credit isn’t a particularly easy task: this was an hour-long special built around a ten second announcement, taking what could have been some interesting pre-decision and post-decision analysis and blanketing it with hyperbole about how this will forever change the game of basketball. This wasn’t ESPN covering LeBron James (which has become nauseous in and of itself), but ESPN turning itself over to LeBron James, which at the very least will have media scholars talking for a long time (or, about as long as it took Jim Gray to actually ask LeBron the question of the night).

And in what is the most shameless segue you’re likely to see all week, this same problem of “turning one’s self over” plagues reality competition programming (oh yes, I went there). For shows like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance, it’s necessary for time purposes to turn over part of their results shows to a musical guest or some other type of performer who kills some time, promotes their record/show, and moves on with their life. These performances can occasionally be quite interesting, but the fact remains that there’s a tension between the narrative unfolding (the elimination of a contestant, in most instances) and the musical performance, and watching tonight’s So You Think You Can Dance (which, in my defence, I watched immediately after tuning out from “The Decision” at the half-hour mark) a few thoughts came to mind about how shows work to keep these musical performances from seeming disconnected from the series itself.

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Filed under American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance

Dancing with the Stars: Season Four Cast Revealed

There are many contestants officially lined up to join the impressive lineup of stars who previously donned the fancy costumes and took part in Dancing with the Stars, ABC’s hit reality series. While the entire list of contestans can be found over at Zap2it, I want to point out the people who are pretty well guaranteed to perform well based on past expectations.

Mel B of The Spice Girls – The Spice Girls tour hype is growing, and her fame is perhaps the biggest amongst the female viewers the show craves. She’ll be a voting force, and by all logic should be able to dance. I know she’s gained weight, but she’s likely already been in training for the reunion tour anyways. She’s a contender. Plus, her partner is fan favourite Maksim.

Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) - Les Moonves at CBS says that he still receives mail telling him to bring back Dr. Quinn, so I think that Jane Seymour might be a strong force with some of the older viewers that the show also brings in despite its flashy nature.

Cameron Mathison (All My Children) - Didn’t they learn their lesson in Season One when Kelly Monaco beat John O’Hurley and a riot ensused? Soap fans are a devoted, devoted bunch: just imagining his voting bloc considering it consists of young female supporters, and I think he’ll be paraded into the Semi-Finals at the very least.

Rounding things out: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Boxer), Wayne Newton (Performer), Mark Cuban (Billionaire), Jennie Garth (90210), Josie Mavan (Who?), Marie Osmond (Singer), Albert Reed (Model/Surfer), Helio Castroneves (Nascar Driver).

Dancing with the Stars premieres its fourth season (Has it been that many? Yikes.) on September 24th with the first of three shows that week.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, Dancing with the Stars, Reality TV, Television

2007-2008 Fall Premiere Dates – FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and The CW

This fall, all of your favourite shows will be returning, and some new blood will join the pack. Which nights should you be scheduling off? Here’s the full calendar list of premiere dates for the Big 5 Networks.

NOTE: New shows are shown in blue.

September 6th

8:00pm

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader [FOX]

September 11th

8:00pm

The Biggest Loser [NBC]

September 12th

9:00pm

Kitchen Nightmares [FOX]

September 14th

9:00pm

Nashville [FOX]

September 17th

8:00pm

Prison Break [FOX]

9:00pm

K-Ville [FOX]

September 18th

8:00pm

Beauty & The Geek [Two Hours] [The CW]

Bones [FOX]

September 19th

8:00pm

Kid Nation [CBS]

America’s Next Top Model [The CW]

Back To You [FOX]

8:30pm

‘Til Death [FOX]

9:00pm

Gossip Girl [The CW]

September 20th

8:00pm

Survivor: China [CBS]

September 23rd

8:00pm

The Simpsons [FOX]

8:30pm

King of the Hill [FOX]

9:00pm

Cold Case [CBS]

Family Guy [FOX]

10:00pm

Shark [CBS]

September 24th

8:00pm

How I Met Your Mother [CBS]

Chuck [NBC]

Dancing with the Stars [ABC]

8:30pm

Big Bang Theory [CBS]

9:00pm

Heroes [NBC]

Two and a Half Men [CBS]

9:30pm

Rules of Engagement [CBS]

The Bachelor [ABC]

10:00pm

CSI: Miami [CBS]

Journeyman [NBC]

September 25th

8:00pm

New Amsterdam [FOX]

NCIS [CBS]

Dancing with the Stars (Results) [ABC]

9:00pm

House [FOX]

The Unit [CBS]

Reaper [The CW]

9:30pm

The Singing Bee [NBC]

Boston Legal [ABC] [Special 90 Minute Premiere]

10:00pm

Cane [CBS]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [NBC]

September 26th

8:00pm

Deal or No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

The Bionic Woman [NBC]

Criminal Minds [CBS]

Private Practice [ABC]

10:00pm

Life [NBC]

CSI: New York [CBS]

Dirty Sexy Money [ABC]

September 27th

8:00pm

My Name is Earl [NBC]

Smallville [The CW]

Ugly Betty [ABC]

9:00pm

The Office [NBC]

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [CBS]

Grey’s Anatomy [ABC]

10:00pm

ER [NBC]

Without a Trace [CBS]

Big Shots [ABC]

September 28th

8:00pm

Ghost Whisperer [CBS]

Deal of No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

Moonlight [CBS]

10:00pm

Las Vegas [NBC]

Numb3rs [CBS]

September 30th

7:00pm

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2 hours) [ABC]

9:00pm

Desperate Housewives [ABC]

9:30pm

American Dad [FOX]

10:00pm

Brothers & Sisters [ABC]

October 1st

8:00pm

Everybody Hates Chris [The CW]

8:30pm

Aliens in America [The CW]

9:00pm

Girlfriends [The CW]

9:30pm

The Game [The CW]

October 2nd

8:00pm

Cavemen [ABC]

8:30pm

Carpoolers [ABC]

October 3rd

8:00pm

Pushing Daisies [ABC]

October 4th

8:30pm

30 Rock [NBC]

9:00pm

Supernatural [The CW]

October 5th

9:00pm

Friday Night Lights [NBC]

October 12th

8:00pm

20/20 [ABC]

9:00pm

Women’s Murder Club [ABC]

10:00pm

Men in Trees [ABC]

October 15th

9:30pm

Samantha Who? [ABC]

October 18th

10:00pm

Viva Laughlin (Preview) [CBS]

October 21st

8:00pm

Viva Laughlin [CBS]

October 25th

9:30pm

Scrubs [NBC]

November 27th

10:00pm

Cashmere Mafia [ABC]

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Filed under 'Til Death, 2007 Fall Preview, 30 Rock, Brothers & Sisters, Cavemen, Chuck, CSI: Miami, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, FOX, Friday Night Lights, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, NBC, New Amsterdam, Prison Break, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Scrubs, Shark, Supernatural, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Ugly Betty

The Results are In: Nielsen Ratings Data for 2006/2007 Season

This list is long. This list is extensive. And I really want to know what this list means. Nielsen (Via The Hollywood Reporter) has released their data for every single TV show that aired in America this past season. It tells us where our favourite shows ranked, where much maligned shows ranked, and how scripted drama did against reality programming.And, it raises a lot of questions about this data that I think Nielsen might not want to answer.

For instance, does this list include repeats in its viewers averages? Because that’s the only way CSI (#4) should be beating Grey’s Anatomy (#6) in total viewers by my calculations. If so, this gives a distinct advantage to shows without repeats (Reality Shows, Lost, Heroes, etc.) or those shows which repeat extremely well (House, CSIs, etc.)

The major thing to watch for in the list is the difference between 18-49 numbers and viewership rankings. It rises many shows into positions of being picked up, even with lacklustre performances in viewers. Some show, like 30 Rock, are in the doldrums in terms of total viewers but shoot up into the Top 75 with adults 18-49, which got it renewed for a second season.

After a few formatting errors, I’ve realized that getting it to highlight canceled shows would drive me crazy, so just refer to your memory. And, either way, some will seem a bit strange. However, remember that these are averages, and don’t reflect ratings dropoff in their later episodes.

This is the case for Jericho, which clearly performed better than many canceled shows. However, CBS did cancel the better rated Close to Home airing on Fridays, so it’s not as if Jericho was the only victim of CBS’ extremely highly place high bar. It might as well be a pole vault at this point.

With the 2006/2007 season over, the industry trades are going right for ratings as their barometer of success. Outside of this post, I’m unlikely to do so as I go into my own year in review season. For now, check out the ratings for all of the dirt, and stay tuned for less quantitative analysis at Cultural Learnings.

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Filed under 30 Rock, ABC, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, Lost, NBC, Ratings, Reality TV, Scrubs, Television, The Amazing Race, The CW, The Office, Veronica Mars

The Three Timeslots to Watch on the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

In a final word on the 2007/2008 Upfronts, I figure it’s time we returned to the schedule as a whole. Because, let’s face it, some of us watch a lot of TV. And, sometimes, that TV all falls within the exact same timeslot. As more and more shows emerge as fan favourites, more and more conflicts take place. This year’s Fall Schedule has created many of these conflicts, and some of them are sure to be key ratings battlegrounds in the year to come. Which five, however, will prove the most interesting? And, as a result, which ones will be a nightmare for non-TiVo owners across North America? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

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Filed under 30 Rock, ABC, Bones, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars, FOX, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, House, NBC, Private Practice, Ratings, Reality TV, Reaper, Scrubs, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza: ‘ABC’ Fall Schedule 2007/2008

Well, ABC’s schedule is official, and there’s not much in the way of changes for the network. In fact, to be honest, the schedule is downright boring.

Reminder: Cultural Learnings’ ABC Fall Preview Schedule 

- Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy Spinoff, will be slotting in at 9pm on Wednesdays, the spot currently occupied by underperforming comedies. It will be sandwiched by two new shows: Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Greg Berlanti’s Dirty Sexy Money. This means three new shows in a single night, which is a departure from the stability found in Lost (Which is now officially held back until February).

- Thursday’s only change is that Big Shots, a male-themed CEO drama, is inheriting the post-Grey’s spot. Why, exactly, this show has the spot over the female-themed Cashmere Mafia (Held until midseason) I don’t really know. I guess because Dylan McDermott and Michael Vartan bring sex appeal? Seems to be the only logic I can think of.

- Dancing with the Stars goes to an hour and a half full time on Mondays as Sam I Am, the Christina Applegate amnesia comedy, fills in between the reality show and The Bachelor at 10. The network’s other two comedies, Cavemen and Carpoolers, fit in at 8pm on Tuesday (Where no other comedies are, good choice), but then lead into an hour-long Dancing with the Stars results show. ABC, the show doesn’t deserve that much of your schedule, cut it to a half hour and slot in another comedy.

- The other new show, Women’s Murder Club, leads out of Men in Trees on Fridays as the latter moves to the opening slot at 8pm. It’s a tough one, against Ghost Whisperer, and we’ll see what momentum the show has after a shortened first season.

- Meanwhile, Notes from the Underbelly and October Road will be headed for midseason.

For the full schedule (It’s really this boring, I swear!), continue on.

 

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Filed under ABC, Brothers & Sisters, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Ratings, Television, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza – ‘ABC’ Preview

ABC is in a unique situation this year when it comes to pilots. On one hand, the network has seen some success this year and in past years, and the network has remained a solid demographics performers even with dips in viewership for its flagship shows like Lost or Desperate Housewives. However, outside of shows like Grey’s Anatomy the network actually saw a series of failures over the span of the year with both dramas and comedies. Judging from its pilot order, ABC is going with what I’d like to call a shotgun approach, something which is both good and bad for the network’s future. Either way, next season will be a test for the ABC brand: is there a cohesive image which can unite wildly different shows together under one banner?

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Filed under ABC, Brothers & Sisters, Cavemen, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Ratings, Sex & The City, Television, Traveler, Ugly Betty, Upfronts

Cultural Catchup: April 25th

Wow, so much is going on right now…

Idol Gives Back, McNutts provide Commentary

So, tonight was the first part of the rather epic Idol Gives Back event on American Idol, and the singing was just…ok. I thought Jordin was pitchy in the beginning, contrary to the judges, but really there wasn’t much to really say about the performances. There is a lot to say, however, on the subject of the cultural ramifications of Idol Gives Back. The elder McNutt has taken an interest in it, and I’ve assisted in analyzing and considering the issue over at McNutt Against the Music. I implore all of you to go over and check it out, it’s quite interesting (I even bring up Baudrillard!).

…in which McNutt and McNutt discuss “Idol Gives Back” – McNutt Against the Music

What’s up with the Boys of Entourage?

Joe asks, and Joe receives; I have, indeed, not talked about Entourage since its recent Season 3.5 premiere. My thoughts? First episode back was good, the second was dull and annoying, while the third got things back on track thanks to some classic Ari and the absolutely stunning Carla Gugino. Ari/Lloyd have been a powerful force thus far, and I think it’s making me more and more frustrated with Vince and Eric. While the latter two are all caught up in the drama of it all, unable to escape their juvenile ways, Ari and Lloyd have this great rapport that just kills me. They’re currently saving Entourage, and I think that they’re perhaps my favourite duo on TV right now.

The Post-Elimination Speech Revenge: Dancing with the Stars and Reality Legitimacy

So, I haven’t been paying too much attention to Dancing with the Stars, but I’ve seen enough to know that the show is suffering the same fate as The Apprentice: its contestants are losing respect for the program. It’s one thing for viewership to fail, but the past two weeks has seen Clyde Drexler and Heather Mills give absolutely biting exit speeches that attack parts of the show’s structure.

Drexler ended last week attacking the judges for expecting non-dancers to be so good. Reasonable? Absolutely not. But it’s still tough to hear for producers. And this week, Heather Mills prepared an entire speech in which she voiced her views on animal rights (unsurprising, but it really pissed off Tom Bergeron who told her to “save her speech for another venue”) and pointed out that she feels bad since her partner (Johnathan) would not be unemployed thanks to her exit. I seriously doubt the show wanted us to think about unemployment when watching ABC’s reality television programming.

The Apprentice had a similar problem, in that after a specific board room the team just laughed as they left, failing to take Trump seriously in the least. Is reality TV becoming so transparent that contestants are no longer willing to isolate themselves? If this is the case, what does this mean for future shows? Is reality TV finally becoming less desirable, less idealistic? I guess that’s a question to ponder.

Today is a pretty crazy day for me, as I’m packing up and heading home. I should be back home in time for some Idol Gives Back and Lost blogging, however, which could mean a long night in front of the HDTV. Mmmm. High-Definition.

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Filed under American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Entourage, Television