Based on preliminary stats, Good Morning America’s Wednesday announcement of the new Dancing With The Stars cast is on track to have scored the biggest morning infotainment-show audience this week – about 5.3 million viewers. Demo-wise, it’s the same story, only with 2.2 million viewers 25-54. Still, Wednesday’s Dancing cast reveal did not match the nearly 6 million who’d watched GMA unveil Dancing‘s most recent previous lineup, and ABC was trying hard to get the biggest crowd tune in possible as it looked to resuscitate the stumbled franchise. Maybe that’s why the network is said to be investigating who leaked so many of the names to TMZ in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, cutting at least 20% of the drama. Among the names TMZ spoiled was Valerie Harper, who was supposed to be the Big Surprise, what with her battling cancer that has moved to her brain, and Harper having said in January that doctors had given her three to six months to live. With Harper’s participation a foregone conclusion by the time of the Wednesday reveal — ditto multiple sclerosis patient Jack Osbourne, former The Talk co-host Leah Remini, Glee’s Amber Riley, and others — The Reporters Who Cover Television were left scrambling to name a “big surprise” in their coverage of Wednesday’s casting news. Several went with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
“Bill Nye Joins Dancing With The Stars Because He Loves the Cosmos,” wrote Wired. “‘Dancing With the Stars‘ Cast Announced, Bill Nye Fans Freak Out,” added Yahoo! which, later that day, said Nye had already nabbed “a staggering 23,000 Twitter mentions since the announcement this morning” while his fellow celeb competitors hadn’t “even cracked the 3,000 marker for mentions.” Turns out, Nye is an avid swing dancer, having said in a New York Times interview in ’08 he goes swing dancing at least twice a week and often four nights per.