Despite Criticized Cast, ‘DWTS’ Crushes the Competition

Kirstie and Maks' Shocking Smooch on 'DWTS' (Photo: ABC)

Kirstie and Maks' Shocking Smooch on 'DWTS' (Photo: ABC)

When the Season 12 cast of “Dancing with the Stars” was announced, many headlines around the country read something to the effect of: “Why is ‘DWTS’ Strangely Starless?” (With the big exception being Kirstie Alley, of course.)

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Perceived star power or not, the ratings couldn’t be better. Monday’s show, the second night of performances before the first celebrity of the season gets booted tonight, was victorious in all major demographics, including adults 18-49 (5.1 rating/13 share), viewers (22 million), and women 35-54 (a dynamite 11.2/24). The feat helped ABC win the night in the demo (4.5/12) and viewers (19.1 million).

The reality show’s Monday night competition included NBC’s “The Event” (1.2/3, 4.3 million) and “Harry’s Law” (.6/4, 8.2 million); while Fox and CBS didn’t have new episodes airing.

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Regardless of how many Emmys, Grammys or Super Bowl rings the new batch of contestants may or may not have, viewers must like what they see because Week 2 remained relatively the same in the ratings as the premiere week, which is always high (22.3 million for last week’s debut performance show.) That said, last spring’s premiere show scored a bit higher with 24.2 million viewers.

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It wasn’t just the critics and fans who were skeptical of how this cast would do. Co-host Tom Bergeron recently admitted he was a bit concerned himself.

“I gotta tell you,” Bergeron told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS-FM radio show Monday, “I was, in all honesty, because the past two seasons have had sort of lighting-rod contestants like Kate Gosselin or Bristol Palin… This season felt more like an early season of the show. So I’d be lying if I’d told you I wasn’t a little concerned that have we started to go down the lighting-rod road so much that people won’t show up if we do a cast that is just intrinsically sort of cool personalities.”

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But once the debut episode hit, Bergeron’s fears were put to rest. “I was really pleased to see how the first show played out,” he said, pointing to Kirstie Alley’s surprise performance, which scored her a 23 and a second place position. “She’s funny and I would say that she acquitted herself far better than any of us ever thought she would last week. It was just amazing to watch her and I’ve never seen Maks happier,” he said.

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