Friday, February 23, 2007

ABC announces soap-free DANCING WITH THE STARS

This week, ABC announced the celebrity line-up for the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars and for the first time in four seasons, the contestant roster will not feature a soap star among their ranks. Previous seasons have featured GENERAL HOSPITAL's Kelly Monaco ("Sam McCall," ex-"Livvie Locke, PORT CHARLES), the first season winner, DAYS OF OUR LIVES star (and SoapNet host) Lisa Rinna (ex-"Billie Reed"), and Saved by the Bell's Mario Lopez (under contract as "Dr. Christian Ramirez" at the time of his selection for Dancing).

While the season's likely surefire inspirational favorite, Heather Mills McCartney (an amputee who will compete using a prosthetic leg), did play herself on DAYS in a one day appearance to counsel Kyle Brandt's "Philip Kirakis" (a core character who lost a leg serving in Iraq), one can't help but wonder if message board protests--and several comments by first season runner-up John O'Hurley--that the passionate loyalty of soap opera fans led to block voting and disproportionate success by Monaco and Lopez (Rinna did not make it to the final dance-off) was a factor. [Monaco countered the accusation on CNN's Larry King Live, pointing out that while GH averages 3 million or so viewers, O'Hurley is best known for Seinfeld, which consistently drew 5 or more times GH's numbers and has a passionate fan base of its own.]

Alas, another possibility is that, having utilized soap talent to lure a core base of fans for what was initially an uncertain proposition, the Dancing brass has decided they no longer need the soap community and have decided to look beyond the "soap level" for their celebrities. If so, that would be a shame...

1 comment:

k/lennox said...

Sadly, I think your last idea is the best one. Soap stars are always looked down upon within the industry, and don't get the respect they deserve. They thought they needed them to draw viewers, but now that they are a hit, they feel free to go with...Paulina Porizkova (sp?) and Shandi Finnessey? Yep, totally "trading up," guys!

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