The “Dancing with the Stars” downsizing news has been greeted with mixed opinions, but mostly optimism, by the show’s longtime host, Tom Bergeron, and the “DWTS” pro dancers.
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After ABC announced this week that “DWTS” would go to a Monday-only schedule and shed the traditional Tuesday results show, the cast sounded off about the major format change. Although it will mean less TV time for all of them, the dancers and host insist the move will make the longtime ABC reality show, now in its 16th season, stronger for the long haul.
“I think it’s clever, brilliant!” said Louis Van Amstel. “I think now, the longevity of the show is five years at least. [ABC] knew exactly at the right time what to do. I was so happy to hear it because I think two nights would have been a slow death.”
The network made the move because ratings on “DWTS,” particularly the Tuesday show, have tumbled and the audience isn’t scoring in the 18 to 49 demographic prized by advertisers. Tom Bergeron told reporters at the show’s 300th episode party on Tuesday night, “I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. I get the rationale behind it. There’s no denying the numbers. It had been slipping. We still beat ‘The Voice’ last night by two million viewers but they are beating us in the demo and that’s what the advertisers are looking to. That’s the strategy behind pushing our Tuesday viewers, hopefully, into a Monday show.”
The quick-witted host also added, “There have been been times in the past—and that will not come as a news flash to you—late in the season, we’re stretching to fill two hours [on Monday]. It’s sort of like, ‘How much water can you put in the soup?’ And this will afford us the luxury of not having to worry about that. Now we’ve got an embarrassment of riches here with what we can do in two [hours].”
Tom revealed, “Interestingly, the research we’ve had over the past few years shows that forty percent of our Tuesday viewers had watched the Monday show. So now, hopefully, we can move them over to Tuesday, continue with the millions that we have watching, but also jump our demo up.”
The host assumes that the elimination will now take place at the end of Monday’s show. “While I’m not the ultimate decider … I think that would be more dramatic to have that happen at the end of the show,” he said.
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Meanwhile, the dancers also hailed the move. “DWTS” stalwart Tony Dovolani, who has appeared on Seasons 2-16 and won “All-Stars,” said, “I think it’s going to make our show even more exciting. We needed to make some sort of a change, and this could be a good one. I like changing something every single season. This is a pretty big change, obviously, but I’m excited about it.” While celebrating the 300th episode of the show, Tony pointed out, “Nothing’s going to bring the mood down once you realize you’ve been on TV longer than most shows that have ever existed. We’re longer on TV than ‘M*A*S*H.’ How many shows can say they’ve hit that 300 mark? And we’re not being cancelled—we’re just combining the two shows!”
However, two-time mirror ball trophy winner Cheryl Burke admitted, “I think it’s obviously sad because we’ve been going twice a week for the past seasons.” But she added, “I think to see lots of entertainment, and the competitors and elimination every single Monday, basically a three-hour show packed into one show–it’s going to keep people wanting more, which we’re trying to do.”
Peta Murgatroyd agreed, saying, “I think it’s actually a good move. I’m being positive about it. I think jam packing everything into two hours is going to be beneficial for us because we might actually get a younger crowd watching the show.Three hours for some people to sit down over two days is a long time. That’s why people just DVR it most of the time. We’re going to have an elimination probably on the same night so it’s going to be more thrilling to watch.”
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“They’re going to make it really big,” three-time mirror ball champ Derek Hough promised reporters with his current celebrity finalist, Kellie Pickler, by his side. “I’m going to miss being able to do certain special performances on a Tuesday but also, I’m going to enjoy that extra day to rehearse for the Monday show.”
Still, as Ingo Rademacher exited Season 16 earlier this week, the “General Hospital” actor offered a different perspective, saying he thought the downsizing would actually make things harder for the celebrities because Tuesday will become an extra rehearsal day. “It’s a disadvantage for the celebrity because we don’t get a day off [now]. We [only] get a day off on Tuesday,” Ingo sighed. “They’ll expect you to rehearse on Tuesdays as well. ou can only kick a dead horse so much!”
The two-part Season 16 finale of “Dancing with the Stars” airs Monday at 8/7c, and on Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.