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Reality Check: Conrad Green On ‘Utopia,’ Singing Shows & Technology’s Promise

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 3:37pm PDT

Reality Check: Conrad Green On ‘Utopia,’ Singing Shows & Technology’s PromiseReality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.

At the end of the current 18th season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, executive producer Conrad Green will leave the show that he has been with since the start. After that many years, end of an era is no hyperbole. Not that the veteran producer and former head of BBC’s Factual Entertainment is getting out of the reality TV game: Green is joining Fox‘s upcoming social experiment reality series Utopia. The series features a group of everyday people who are planted in an isolated, undeveloped location for a whole year and forced to create their own civilization, flaws and all. With that big change coming, Green spoke to Deadline about what the essential skills for success in producing unscripted TV are, the state of singing competition shows and the arrival of Rising Star plus what he would bet on for the next big thing if he were a betting man.

DEADLINE: Big picture things first, what is the state of unscripted TV today?
CONRAD GREEN: I think it’s quite a mature market, at the moment. As in, lots of the big staples have been on air for quite a while. Feels like it’s time for a big, new show that’s completely different to arrive, you know? Competition reality performance shows have been going for quite a long time now, and are still, but aren’t as powerful as they once were, and it feels like it’s time for an innovation. Read More »

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Reality Check: Nielsen Twitter TV Season Rankings Show Reality’s Strength

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT

Twitter-Logo__130513233830-150x150When Nielsen recently wrapped the TV season, it released a set of graphics breaking out the biggest of the big in its new Twitter TV Ratings, in which reality fared well. Among the biggest on the social-media site: the series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad,  AMC’s zombie drama  The Walking Dead, the NFL and college football championships, the Oscars etc. Among the season’s Twitter records, however, is winner of Most Tweets and Tweets-Per-Minute: NBC’s The Voice. Viewers sent 1.92 million tweets on May 13, including a record 310,000 at 8:59 PM EST. 1.5 million tweets mentioned #VoiceSave. Here’s the season overview, which includes strong showings overall from ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With The Stars:

Related: What TV Series Do Rich And Smart People Watch? You Might Be Surprised

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EMMYS: The Veterans, Sure Bets & Wild Cards Vying For 2014 Reality TV Noms

Nellie Andreeva

Awardsline logo_use this oneWhile the docureality genre has exploded on cable over the past decade—thanks to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars, Jersey Shore and the various Real Housewives—the reality competition field has been incredibly stagnant with the same veterans ruling the field year after year. In the 11 years since the category was introduced, only 10 series have been nominated, five as many as seven times. The Amazing Race alone has 11 straight nominations and nine wins.

The Voice JudgesSince the competition category was expanded from five to six slots in 2011, there has been only one change, when The Voice replaced American Idol on the list of nominees in 2012. The Voice went even further last year when it became only the second show to upset The Amazing Race and win the Emmy. But with the drought in the competition reality genre continuing with no new breakouts in the past year (ABC has high hopes for its summer entry Rising Star), a major shakeup in the roster of nominees is once again unlikely. Here’s how this year’s crop of all-too-familiar contenders stands:

The Age Effect
The Gladiators Are Here!The first singing show to win a reality competition Emmy, and only the second ever to beat The Amazing Race, The Voice is a relative newcomer. Youth is on its side as, at three years of age, it is at least five years younger than its main competitors. For the first time, it is the show to beat.

The Amazing Race, CBS’ globe-trotting series, has nabbed the Emmy nine out of 11 years, only bested last year by The Voice and in 2010 by Top Chef. It is still a gold standard, and a nomination is all but guaranteed. But it also is the oldest among the top contenders. Would it be able to reclaim its Emmy crown? Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’ & ‘Dancing’ Finales Down From Last Year, ‘Supernatural’ Closer Up, ‘Idol’ Slips, ‘Harry’ Debuts Low

Nellie Andreeva

the-voice-winner-josh-kaufman-usher-billboard-650NBC and ABC synched up their schedules last night, both airing hourlong recap specials leading to the two-hour finales of their talent competition series The Voice and Dancing with the Stars, respectively. The nets split the night, with NBC taking adults 18-49 (2.8) and ABC winning in total viewers (13.7 million) with its largest audience in a year and a half. The two finales had something dancingfinaleelse in common — both were down year-to-year. The Voice (3.3 in 18-49, 11.6 million total viewers) posted an eight-week high for a Tuesday telecast in 18-49 but was down 25% from last spring’s finale, which aired in June to mark the third consecutive cycle of finale ratings declines. Dancing (2.4) was down 11% from last spring’s season finale to tie last fall’s cycle as the lowest-rated finale. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Dancing’ & ‘The Voice’ Performance Finales Inch Up, ‘Bachelorette’ Premiere Flat, Maya Rudolph Special OK

By | Tuesday May 20, 2014 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Maya Rudolph Show - Season 2014The broadcast networks have long been looking to crack the primetime variety series genre. NBC tried with The Rosie O’Donnell Show several years ago. Now it is venturing into the space with Saturday Night Live alumna Maya Rudolph. The Maya Rudolph Show special/backdoor pilot drew a 2.2 rating in adults 18-49 to top the 10 PM hour last night. It did OK following The Voice performance finale (3.1, up a tenth from last week but down from last year). Its lead-in retention was 71% vs. 73% for the preview of Believe in the time period earlier this spring.

With drummed-up drama over pro Mark Ballas’ injury, the 90-minute performance finale of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars drew a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49, up +9% from last week. It was flat with last spring’s performance finale while posting the highest-rated Monday finale among adults 18-34 (1.7) in five cycles. Following Dancing was the 90-minute season premiere of The Bachelorette (1.9), which was even with last season’s debut. But last season, The Bachelorette aired at 8 PM with no lead-in, and the 1.9 is tied as the series’ lowest premiere rating.

The season finale of Fox’s Bones (1.6) was down a tenth from last week. Alarming second consecutive double-digit drop for 24: Live Another Day (1.7, -15%). CBS’ freshly cancelled freshman comedy Friends With Better Lives (1.6) is not going away quietly, inching up from … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘24: Live Another Day’ Falls, ‘Star-Crossed’ Finale Surges, ‘Blacklist’ & ‘Castle’ Finales Steady

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 9:02am PDT

24 LAD MAY 12Event programming was the mantra during Fox’s upfronts presentation yesterday as it was on-air too. The second week of the event series 24: Live Another Day (2.0/6) saw Jack Bauer bring his unique brand of anti-terrorism to the streets of London. It also saw a double-digit drop from last week’s two-hour debut as it fell 23% among adults 18-49 from that May 5 premiere. Unlike last week, when Bauer was by himself on Fox’s primetime, the new 24 was preceded last night by Bones (1.6/5), which bopped up 7% from its last original April 21.

Coming off last week sharp drop, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (2.2/6) had a surprising elimination and a 16% uptick in the key demo. The real jump up for ABC was with the Season 6 finale of Monday veteran Castle (2.0/6). The returning crime drama grew 25% over last week’s show low. Additionally, Castle pretty much held its ground compared with its Season 5 finale on May 13, 2013, with just a 5% slip.

Related: ABC Renews ‘Dancing With The Stars’ For Season 19

The only original on the CW last night was also a finale with the now cancelled Star-Crossed (0.4/1) leaping up 33% from last week.
Read More »

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ABC Renews ‘Dancing With The Stars’ For Season 19

By | Friday May 9, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Dancing With The Stars Renewed ABCABC has made it official – Dancing With The Stars will return next fall for a 19th cycle, the first with Rob Wade at the helm as he is set to succeed departing Conrad Green who had been the showrunner since the launch. ABC also officially confirmed that The Middle has been renewed for a sixth season.

Related: ABC’s ‘The Middle’ Renewed For Season 6

As is the case with most aging reality franchises, the ratings for Dancing have come down and, starting last fall, the show went from two to one episode a week. Dancing is skewing older but still draws sizable audiences. The show made several changes going into this season, including Erin Andrews replacing Brooke Burke-Charvet as co-host and bringing in a new orchestra. Dancing joins fellow reality veterans — CBS’ Survivor and The Amazing Race and Fox’s American Idol – which also have been renewed for next season.

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Rob Wade To Succeed Conrad Green As ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Showrunner

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

dancingRob Wade has been tapped to take over as showrunner of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars starting with the next 19th cycle, which has not been formally picked up but is fully expected to. Wade, a DWTS veteran, will succeed Conrad Green, the show’s executive producer/showrunner since its launch, who is departing after the 18th season finale next month to join new Fox series Utopia as executive producer. Wade was a producer on DWTS for the first 11 seasons, including a stint as co-executive producer under Green from Season 5 in 2007 to Season 11 in 2010. “Rob was a part of the DWTS family from the very beginning and in our mind, there was no one who made more sense to come aboard and take the show into its next era than him,” said Jane Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Prods., which produces DWTS.  Wade will serve as executive producer alongside Ashely Edens-Shaffer and Joe Sungkur. “Dancing with the Stars is in great shape and I look forward to getting back in the ballroom and working with Joe and Ashley to take it to the next level,” Wade said.

As is the case with all aging reality franchises, the ratings for Dancing have come down and, starting last fall, the show went from two to one episode a week but it still draws sizable audiences. The show made several changes going into this season, including Erin Andrews replacing Brooke … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’, ‘Dancing’, ‘2 Broke Girls’ And ‘Mike & Molly’ Slip

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 10:16am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

kristen-merlin-lgNBC’s and ABC’s lineups followed a similar pattern last night, with a two-hour reality series posting declines from last week to hit lows and a 10 PM drama returning to originals on par. NBC’s The Voice made a bumpy transition to live shows last night with the first performance edition suffering a mic malfunction in addition to a 15% week-to-week ratings drop. The singing competition (2.9) logged its lowest Monday rating to date, matching a series low. Meanwhile, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars (2.1) was down 9% from last week to a season low. But compared to the same night last spring, the veteran ABC dancing competition was even, while The Voice was down 41%. NBC’s The Blacklist (2.8) and ABC’s Castle (1.8) were both flat with their most recent originals three and four weeks ago, respectively. NBC still won the night in 18-49 (2.9) with Voice and Blacklist as the top two programs, while ABC was tops in total viewers (12.2 million). Read More »

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‘Dancing With The Stars’ Showrunner Conrad Green Exits To Join Fox’s ‘Utopia’ As EP

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 9:16am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

conradgreenEXCLUSIVE: It’s the end of an era at ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Conrad Green, who has been executive producer/showrunner of the veteran reality series since its launch, will depart after the end of the current 18th season. He is leaving to join Fox‘s upcoming Utopia as executive producer. Also joining the upcoming social experiment reality series as executive producer is Jon Kroll (Big Brother, The Amazing Race). Green was part of the original BBC Worldwide Prods. team of Dancing that pitched the format to ABC. His nine-year, 18-cycle krollstint will come to an end at the May 20 season finale. “I’m enormously proud of everything we’ve achieved on Dancing With The Stars,” he told Deadline. “This has been the job of a lifetime and I’m thankful for every performance, every dancer and every colleague I’ve worked with over the years, and to ABC and BBC Worldwide Prods. for these past eighteen seasons. What was once a small dancing show has thrived and become a cultural phenomenon. But after almost 10 years, the opportunity to take on a project with the immense potential of Utopia was simply too good to pass up. The ambition and scale of the challenge is thrilling. I’ll miss everyone I’ve worked with on Dancing With the Stars and look forward to this next exciting chapter.” Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Off To Soft Start, ‘HIMYM’ Perks Up As ’2 Broke Girls’, ‘Mom’ & ‘Following’ Hit Lows

Nellie Andreeva

dwtsSeason 18 of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, featuring a new co-host, new band and a couple of Olympic champions, opened with a 2.5 in adults 18-49 and 15 million viewers last night. It was down 22% from last spring’s premiere, which faced The Biggest Loser, not The Voiceon NBC. Dancing was on par with its last season debut to air against Voice, the fall 2012 opener (2.5, 14.1 million), which happens to be an all-time premiere low for the franchise. Castle (1.8) was up 13% from its last original two weeks ago but may be adjusted down because of a Dancing overrun. ABC won the night in total viewers.

After taking a hit against The Bachelor finale last Monday, NBC’s Voice (4.0) rebounded against the Dancing season premiere, up 8% from last week. The Blacklist (2.8) was up a tenth from the fast national for its most recent airing two weeks ago when the freshman drama posted an all-time low behind The Voice.  NBC won the night in 18-49.

The third-to-last episode of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother (2.9) snapped the veteran comedy’s three-week downward trend, up 7% from last week’s season low. No good ratings news for the rest of CBS’ Monday comedies, which logged a slew of lows in their first outings after getting renewed for next season. 2 Broke Girls (2.1) was down 19% from its last original to a series low; Mike And Molly (1.8) matched last week’s series low, and Mom (1.8) slipped 10% to a series low. After a little bump against lesser drama competition at 10 PM last Monday, struggling midseason drama Intelligence (1.1) dropped 15% to tie a series low.  Read More »

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Gold Medal Ice Dancers Meryl Davis And Charlie White Headline ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast Heavy On Athletes: Video

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 7:10am PST

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 10Fresh off their gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will headline the all-star lineup of ABC‘s competition series Dancing With The Stars when it returns for its 18th season –  part of a celebrity lineup that’s heavy on athletes. Davis and White, who have been skating partners since 1997, will compete against each other on Dancing. They’ll be joined by double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy –  a world-champion adaptive snowboarder and the show’s first Paralympian to compete. And, Sean Avery will be the first former hockey player in Dancing history. Also in this year’s celebrity cast: swimmer Diana Nyad, who became the first person to complete a historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West in September of 2013 on her fifth attempt.

Joining the athletes in the battle for the mirrorball trophy:  The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar, comedian turned game show host Drew Carey, actor Billy Dee Williams, former Full House actress Candace Cameron Bure, Real Housewives reality star NeNe Leakes, Australian pop singer Cody Simpson, and Big Time Rush actor-singer James Maslow. Read More »

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Erin Andrews New Co-Host Of ‘Dancing With The Stars’

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 6:41am PST

Erin Andrews Dancing with the StarsUPDATE MONDAY 6:40 AM: ABC this morning made the official announcement of Erin Andrews joining Dancing With The Stars for the upcoming season, whose celebrity cast will be revealed tomorrow morning. She joins fellow new Dancing addition, musical director Ray Chew, who replaces longtime band leader Harold Wheeler.

PREVIOUS SUNDAY 4:30 PM: Fox SportsErin Andrews has been tapped as co-host of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Deadline has confirmed. The news broke shortly after long-running co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet Tweeted her firing from the reality dancing competition, which returns for its 18th season on March 17. People broke the news first. Andrews, who competed on DWTS Season 10, is expected be officially announce as Charvet’s replacement as soon as tomorrow.

Related: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Axes Brooke Burke-Charvet

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‘Dancing With The Stars’ Axes Brooke Burke-Charvet

By | Saturday February 22, 2014 @ 9:42am PST

brooke-burke-charvetThe Season 7 winner and longtime host got news of her own elimination from ABC’s Dancing With The Stars Friday. “Weird day….Shocking pre-season elimination #DWTS… ME. @Tom_Bergeron didn’t even read my name. I won’t be returning to the show this season,” Tweeted Brooke Burke-Charvet late Friday night. The reality TV host (Wild On!, Rock Star, Miss America Pageant) replaced DWTS‘ Samantha Harris in 2010. The move comes ahead of DWTS‘ 18th season premiere on March 17. Last Fall’s finale was the lowest-rated finale in franchise history.

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ABC Sets ‘Black Box’ Premiere, ‘Dancing’ Return Date, Moves Up ‘Mind Games’ Debut

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 10:23am PST
Nellie Andreeva

WYNN EVERETT, CEDRIC SANDERS, CHRISTIAN SLATER, GREGORY MARCEL, STEVE ZAHNNew ABC drama series Black Box will succeed Scandal in the Thursday 10 PM slot, launching on April 24. Scandal is finishing its season a little earlier as its order had to be reduced because of star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Fellow new drama, Mind Games, originally slated to premiere on March 11 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot, will start two weeks earlier, on February 25, as ABC is cutting short the run of underperforming drama Killer Women. The series stars Christian Slater and Steve Zahn. Veteran Dancing With The Stars will return on March 17. And the network is banking on new Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, expanding the February 24 episode to two hours, and adding a two-hour special on February 25, leading into the premiere of Mind Games. ABC also announced today a new Disney-Pixar holiday special, Toy Story That Time Forgot for the 2014 holiday season, a follow up to Toy Story Of Terror.

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Halloween, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Deliver ‘GMA’ A Big November Sweep Win

abc-good-morning-america-jpg__121126184805A Halloween coup and a Dancing With The Stars pop catapulted ABC’s Good Morning America to its second consecutive November sweep win among the broadcast morning infotainment programs. GMA won the sweep in the news demo (2.226 million viewers) and among viewers of all ages (5.950 million). The win marks GMA’s first back-to-back November sweep wins in 20 years overall, and 21 years in the demo. The November victory extends GMA’s streak to six straight in total viewers and five in the demo.

Today, meanwhile, noted this morning is has now been No. 1 rated in the 18-49 demo for 77 consecutive sweeps overall and 22 consecutive November sweeps. News programming is not typically sold off that demo, but it is one that NBC targets aggressively in other dayparts. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Rudolph’ Tops ‘The Voice’ & ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’, ‘Dancing’ Finale Down

By | Wednesday November 27, 2013 @ 10:20am PST
Nellie Andreeva

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEERA 49-year-old animated movie went against some of the most expensive shows on television last night and won. CBS’ rebroadcast of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (3.0, up 3% from last year) was the highest-rated program last night in adults 18-49, the demo category it itself is leading this year, topping NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Rudolph drew 11.4 million viewers, up 13% and the second-largest audience last night behind ABC’s Dancing With The Stars finale (14.6 million, 2.4 in 18-49), helping CBS win Tuesday in 18-49 and total viewers.  The Dancing closer was down 20%  from last fall’s All-Star edition and 11% from the most recent spring cycle to rank as the aging franchise’s lowest-rated fall finale ever.

While it was trounced by Rudolph in head-to-head competition at 8 PM, S.H.I.E.L.D. (2.5, 9.3 million) still ticked up a tenth in the demo not facing CBS’ juggernaut NCIS in the hour and logged its second-largest audience of the season.  It was a seesaw night on NBC with The Biggest Loser (2.0) up 5%, The Voice (2.9) down 9% to tie its lowest Tuesday rating ever, and Chicago Fire (2.1) up 11% from last week’s season low. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Bones’ Ticks Up With Wedding, ‘The Voice’ & ‘Dancing’ Dip

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 9:54am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: Mom did finish up week to week. The comedy was adjusted down a tenth in the finals, making its gain 15%. Also slipping down by a tenth was 2 Broke Girls, while Hostages dropped .2 to tie its low from last week. How I Met Your Mother, The Voice, Bones and Dancing with the Stars were adjusted up by a tenth. 

PREVIOUS: Fox last night gave promising new drama Sleepy Hollow two extra weeks of Bones lead-in in November before a newcomer, Almost Human, comes into the Monday 8 PM slot. The Headless Horseman drama sure could use the reprieve because its fifth episode last Monday would’ve been the last original with a Bones lead-in. It was a special episode of Bones last night, featuring the eight-seasons-in-the-making Booth and Brennan wedding. The veteran dramedy only got a modest bump (5%, to a 2.1 rating in adults 18-49). Still, Sleepy Hollow would’ve benefited by following it with an original. Instead, the drama aired a repeat because of its complex production that didn’t allow for a sixth episode to be completed for last night’s airing. Sleepy Hollow will again stay dark next Monday for the World Series, making it a two-week break five weeks into the series run. Those lengthy hiatuses early in the run of new series are disruptive (Fox’s New Girl never recovered from a series of early pre-emptions). They also allow time-slot competitors to get stronger by wooing available eyeballs. Fortunately for Sleepy Hollow, it is a heavily DVR-ed show that is likely already locked on people’s season passes.

The lack of a new Sleepy Hollow seems to have helped CBS’ 9-11 PM block. The network’s fast nationals were inflated by an NFL pre-emption in Minnesota. Still, while How I Met Your Mother (2.9) at 8 PM was down a tenth from its fast national last week, and 2 Broke Girls (2.6) at 8:30 PM was flat, a The Big Bang Theory repeat (2.5) at 9 PM jumped 14% from last Monday’s rerun, while Mom (2.4) at 9:30 PM shot up by 20% and is expected to stay in positive territory in the finals. The tide lifted even Hostages (1.4, up 17%), though it may end up even week to week in the finals. Read More »

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‘Dancing With The Stars’ Eliminates Injured Fave Bill Nye As Competition Limps Back In Ratings

By | Tuesday October 1, 2013 @ 7:25am PDT

Bill Nye the Science Guy, whose fan-fave-dom is helping ABC resuscitate ratings on its Dancing With The Stars franchise, got the hook last night, which may spell trouble for the competition series as it works its way back up in the ratings. Nye’s ouster triggered viewer complaints online that the now-one-night-a-week show’s new system of voting — previous week’s viewer vote lumped with current performance judges’ votes — caused Nye to be booted unfairly. On the other hand, Nye danced mostly from the waist up last night, performing with a pretty serious leg injury after tripping at the end of last week’s dance. The judges last night acknowledged Nye’s dance was unconventional, that he had danced with a fairly serious injury, complimented Nye and partner for choreographing around the injury, said they admired him for performing at all, that their scores did not reflect their admiration of him for what he had done — and then they nuked him. This prompted Tom Bergeron — best reality TV host no matter what the TV Academy says on Emmy night — to ask Nye why the judges’ votes shouldn’t reflect their admiration of Nye, speaking for viewers everywhere. On the other hand, Nye couldn’t dance from the waist up every week, or the other competitors also would have to be judged from the waist up — so maybe this was the Dancing With The Stars equivalent of putting down a much loved but terminally ill family pet. Anyway, before last night’s Nye nuking, Dancing averaging nearly 15 million viewers this season — up 12% compared to last fall — and a 2.7 rating in the demo, which is up 17%. Watch Nye’s performance: Read More »

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