ABC Rethinks Strategy for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ After the Show Gets Hammered in the Ratings

Dec 7, 2012  •  Post A Comment

ABC is trying to figure out what to do about “Dancing with the Stars” after the latest edition of the show took a pounding in the ratings, the New York Post reports.

For a start, the network may cut back to airing one season of the dance competition per year, placing it on the network’s spring schedule, the story reports.

The series struggled in the ratings during the "All Star" season, which ended last month. The finale drew 16.7 million viewers, down by nearly 3 million viewers from a year earlier.

The season’s total viewership was down by about 20%, the piece adds. "DWTS" is scheduled to return to the network March 18.

”We haven’t made a decision about fall yet, but we have no indication that it won’t be on the schedule,” an ABC spokeswoman said.

A source involved with production on the show told the publication: “They have to figure something out. Maybe change the judges. The show needs a total makeover.”

Disney CFO Jay Rasulo talked about the show during a financial conference this week in New York, admitting that bringing back past champions — including Shawn Johnson, Emmitt Smith and Drew Lachey — seemed like “a great idea” at the time. “Turns out people didn’t want to see people who could dance,” Rasulo added. “They wanted people who couldn’t dance.”

The format has remained relatively stable throughout the show’s seven and a half years, the piece notes. “But lately, the show appears to be headed toward an inevitable changing of the guard. In September, longtime pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy announced that he will not return after his contract expires in 2013.

“Cheryl Burke also told The Post that she may take time off to pursue reality TV.”

Executive producer Conrad Green told the publication: “I would say making this show is more like surfing. Everyone thinks you are a puppet master. But actually what you do is you follow the wave, rather than set the wave."


  1. YOU’RE KIDDING? You mean a network overplayed something? This happens every couple years (see TRADING SPACES, MILLIONAIRE). TV never met an idea it didn’t beat to death.

  2. Retool the show? Really? It seems to me that having actual “stars” on the show as contestants would be the natural fix for the ratings. Otherwise change the name to “Dancing with the Unknowns”.

  3. Well maybe it would do better if it didn’t seem like the results were fixed. I used to love the show – but the last few editions have had weird stunt casting and it just seemed obvious that something fishy was going on with the results.

  4. My wife and I ballroom dance and we enjoyed the first few seasons when it was truly about ballroom dancing. Now the focus seems to be on more cabaret and performance dancing. I enjoyed when Len would talk about the dancers’ footwork and that doesn’t seem to happen to often any more. And I am not homophobic but maybe Bruno could turn it down a little? His entire purpose seems to be to make some flamboyant statement that has little to do with the dancing.

  5. The winner of this last season Melissa Rycroft was a farce. She only won because the other two won already. She was no better than Kelly or Shawn…AND..she is NOT a star! Seriously?????…Her road to fame was being dumped on National TV. That’s IT! I dont know what your defination of a star is..but what ever it is..SHE does NOT fit it. That mirror ball should be taken away from her and given to someone who is star quality..NOT a dumpee from a reality show.

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