Reality 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 »
When 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
Read More »
While 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.
Since 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 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 »
ABC 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.
Rob 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 »
Fresh 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 »
UPDATE 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 Sports‘ Erin 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
The 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.
New 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.
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 »