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DeLay Doesn't Do It for "Dancing" Ratings

ABC's decision to invite disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to participate in "Dancing with the Stars" may have backfired.

Monday's much ballyhooed ninth-edition debut of the ballroom dance competition attracted an average audience of 17.5 million viewers, according to early Nielsen stats.

That's the show's smallest opening audience since its very first year on the air, when viewers were still getting to know the imported BBC-produced reality series.

The last two fall editions both opened with more than 21 million viewers tuned in. Delay's opening numbers are also puny compared to the more than 20 million people who turned in to the debut in September of '06, when Jerry Springer was one of the competitors. DeLay's relationship with "Dancing" dates back to that edition -- he sent an e-mail blast around America back then, urging people to vote for one of Springers dance rivals, country crooner Sara Evans, because she and her GOP-fundraiser husband represented "good American values" while liberal talk-show host Springer represented the "smut" that viewers needed to tell Hollywood, in no uncertain terms, "has no place on television."

BTW, Springer was a bad dancer. DeLay is also a bad dancer. In their first performances, both men were awarded 16 points out of a possible 30 by the show's official judges. (DeLay received another four points from the judges for his participation in a Viennese-waltz relay which was added to this year's opening show, which had not been available to Springer).

On Monday, nearly as many people voted to watch a drug-addled doctor deal with his demon as voted for a politician who was trying to redeem himself in popular opinion after falling from grace in the wake of a lobbying scandal.

The two-hour season debut of Fox's "House," which had focused on Dr. Gregory House's Vicodin addiction, attracted 17 million viewers, airing directly opposite "Dancing."

DeLay fell from political grace after a lobbying scandal. He had ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials -- in a deal that required Abramoff to cooperate with an investigation into his dealings with members of Congress. After stepping down as majority leader, DeLay gave up his reelection bid in 2006. He is under indictment in his home state, on charges stemming from a campaign finance investigation. He has pleaded not guilty and the case has been mired in procedural challenges.

"Politicians always polarize," "Dancing" executive producer Conrad Green told The TV Column back in August when the show announced DeLay among this edition's competitors.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  September 22, 2009; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Gee what a surprise, Lisa thinks the ratings were low because of having Tom DeLay on there. There are dozens of reasons why the ratings could be down, but leave it to the liberal media to once again blame a republican.

Posted by: uptownman | September 22, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

DeLay had no problem dancing around the law.

Posted by: blarsen1 | September 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@uptownman, I'm not even a Republican but I would have to agree with your comments. I normally watch 'Dancing' but it was up against the season premiere of 'House' and FOX doesn't air House episodes for 8 days. So I made a choice. It had nothing to do with DeLay. In fact, when I DID get around to watching 'Dancing' I thought DeLay to be charming and pleasant- not worthy of the disdain placed upon him by this writer. It's amazing that when Patty Blajovich was on 'Get Me Out Of Here', the liberal media was all over her, heaping on the accolades- even when Rod appeared on the episode.

Posted by: politicsandamericanpie | September 22, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I only watched Michael Ervin and DeLay dance, then I switched the channel.

Posted by: pigfox | September 22, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Touchy, touchy, touchy! The writer didn't even point out that DeLay was a Republican. What he did point out was that he was embroiled in a legal and political scandal. I do believe a few Democrats fit that description.

And the fact that the ratings were down almost 20% from the previous two seasons is at least worthy of note. While I like ballroom dancing, I'm not a fan of the show, and I frankly would not be particularly excited by the addition of a political figure to the lineup. I think he was selected less for dancing ability that for some hope that viewers would tune in out of morbid curiousity -- as in wondering how bad he would be. And that's where the idea backfired. The show's viewers want to see dancers they expect to be good, attractive, professional. They were expecting to be disappointed.

Posted by: bellydog | September 22, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

DeLay was embarrassing to watch...what a fool...kept exulting and preening like he was a star while looking and acting ridiculous. I can't imagine why he would do this except that he is just one of those people who has no idea how he really appears to others. And ripping Springer when he's under indictment--absolutely clueless!

Posted by: jayboslin | September 22, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I find Dancing & House to be appalling and pathetic. Hooray for PBS or the news. At least Springer was funny. brian from L.A.

Posted by: strbr1940 | September 22, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As conservative leaning independent, it sickens me to see 'Dancing' promoting those with tarnished/conviction records (probably for the publicity/notoriety), as they also did with Lil Kim... and just like the fools who didn't check the abusive background of the 'millionaire' guy 'suspected' of killing the model (and 'suspected' of killing himself). Forgiveness is great for those who wish to do so, but promoting those with serious lapses of judgment is not the right message to send. Commit a crime, do the time, get a reward... no.

Posted by: RaDaRR | September 22, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I used to watch, I even went to one of their tour performances but with DeLay in the mix?, no more for me, nor will I support their sponsors.

Posted by: JRM2 | September 22, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's get it right, felony money-laundering charges.

Posted by: THX1139 | September 22, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Foiled again! First by the liberal media and the FBI and now my plans to use dancing with the stars as a forum may have failed. But soon I will be back and I will make the entire world adopt a medievil social agenda! Whoa hahahahaha! -TD

Posted by: TD12 | September 22, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

So Delay was the only person on the show and totally responsible for any ratings???

I don't think so.

deMoraes has spent the entire day in an orgy of bashing Delay. What a disgrace to the Post she is.

Posted by: marcus006 | September 22, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid idotic article.

It's amazing that only Tom Delay was on the show. And that he, single handly caused it to have low ratings.

As to him being disgraced, that's also a lie.

Democratic partisan Ronnie Early went to 3 grand juries before he got one of them, (in a very Democratic country) to proceed with an indictment.

And what was that indictment for? It was for some supposed highly technical section of having an education PAC financed.

What a joke. It's just been admitted by the White House that they clearly broke the law by trying to turn the National Endowment for the Arts into a pro Obama policies shill.

Delay resigned because of stupid, self imposed GOP rules that stated anyone under indictment couldn't serve in a leadership role. Democrats have to be dragged out of congress when they are caught.

And by the way, again, Delay hasn't been convicted of anything.

So those who are saying things about him here and the partisan writer of the article are just being liars...plain and simple.

Posted by: TiminPhoenix | September 22, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Look at these truly pathetic comments from the hangers-on of the disgraced Quimwhig Party defending one of the many corrupt and anti-democracy traitors of American ideals.

What do them thar lib'rals have to do with any of this?

This is one sick culture that would even entertain the idea of propping up this midget texas cousin humper for an extension of what passes for celebrity.

Please......find some cyanide.

Posted by: mot2win | September 22, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

What were they thinking?
The majority of this nation gave Republicans the bums rush out of power. Why would these producers think for one second that we the people wanted to see the worst of that corrupt party dancing around as if he thought he was cool. I would have watched Dancing with the Stars had he not been on there. He's no star, he's a political criminal.

Posted by: jeffersontao | September 22, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

politicsandamericanpie - If you think that the "liberal media" supported Patti Blagojevich because they supported Rob ...or Patti's affairs in Illinois, you are sadly mistaken.

As for linking DeLay and sad ratings -- it's probably because ABC made DeLay it's "Big Star" with big promos after they signed him. ABC obviously thought Tom would be their big draw.

TimmiinPhoenix - if you are going to talk NEA and politics, you might want to review the "golden years" of Reagan and Pappa Bush.

Posted by: wingedlizard | September 22, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I detest Delay, but I hardly think he alone was the reason for the DWTS ratings drop. This may have been the most bloated premiere in the show's history - and it's not even done yet. So that might have something to do with the ratings slide.

Posted by: gillyrosh | September 22, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Republican Family Values:

Apathy, Callousness, Greed, Self Serving Self Interest, Narcissism, Inhumanity, Death, Looting, Plundering.

Posted by: republican_disaster | September 22, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Tom Delay on Dancing with the Stars. Yuck.

Posted by: cats2 | September 22, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

This is why I don't watch television. Just like print newspapers, it's become a conjured medium by which to deliver advertisements.

Posted by: YouMustBeJoking | September 22, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Get over it! Tom was dancing and having fun. The fact that he can dance well for an old white pol is just great. You go, Tom!

Posted by: karljan7 | September 22, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating and quite sad that politics have to be screwed balled into everything.
The writer mentioned nothing about his being a Rep...yet, angry Rep readers jump the gun and bring it up themselves.
Liberals jump on the train to make it about morality ....Oh, and I love those who say "I am not a Rep...etc but I am also angry at this liberal attack..." Come on, we know you're Rep...
Listen, the show has been on awhile...and with it...across many stations...tons of other Dancing shows. Could it be, DeLay or no Delay, that the viewers are getting tired of the same ol' same ol' and want something fresh!!!???
And again, up against House and his addiction to nuttiness and medications...come on, that at least has some balls to it!!
There are equal numbers of jackass Rep as there are Demo..Indep...etc, who cares which one is dancing!!!

Posted by: sanityrose | September 22, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Neither DeLay nor Irvin are worth watching the show for. Edyta, Anna, Karina etc. ARE worth watching the show for. I DVR the show and FF through the two undesirables DeLay and Irvin.

Posted by: bfjam | September 22, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

What a desperate attempt to create "news." I usually watch Dancing, but it was up against the premiere for Heroes. It wasn't a difficult choice and had nothing to do with not watching DeLay.

Posted by: lashadow | September 22, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, you missed a great opportunity to point out that DeLay was on the wrong side of Sara Evan's marriage by citing her "family values" since during the DWTS season, she filed for a divorce and accused her husband of infidelity. He subsequently cross-filed and accused her of sleeping with everyone she knew. DeLay may not be solely responsible for DWTS rating's decline, but I guess it was the only interesting angle you could conjure.

Posted by: jayzach | September 22, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

With the mincing little steps he takes when he walks I thought he could have used those little moves to dance but apparently not.

Posted by: Mnnngj | September 23, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

What a thoroughly silly piece. "May have backfired" may be the dumbest critical judgment on the least consequential topic of the day. Less consequential even then the Redskins' vanishing offense. And yet: Through the miracle of DVR, I watched both a very fine episode of House and the season premier of DWTS. And as for the execrable DeLay...once I overcame my aversion to EVEN LOOKING AT HIM, I found his effort, strangely, transformative: instead of The (Deeply Despised) Hammer, he was just another nervous (trembling, actually) Earthling trying to master a difficult art. In short, his appearance on a dance show imparted to him a humanity his detractors - I included - had heretofore denied him.

Posted by: PaulfromNorthernVa | September 23, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Since Delay was the most talked about "star" on the show, I think it's pretty fair to link him to the sagging ratings. Of course, when Tom Delay is your biggest star, you should expect some terrible ratings. You can pin the blame on casting or marketing for that one.

Posted by: SoulPole | September 23, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this interesting bit of TV trivia.
Here in Southeast Texas, there is, I'm sure, a certain political group that favors Mr. DeLay.
But to be honest, most people, including all the people I know, consider Mr. DeLay to be a disreputable man, who bullied his way onto the national stage and, thanks to his arrogance, which overrode his hubris, landed him up in the situation he finds himself in today.
We don't think much of him.
He redistricted our area and the spineless courts allowed him to get away with it.
The clips on news programs provoked a momentary curiousity, but that's about it.
Some of us were simply astounded that he has not been brought to trial yet and we wonder what the holdup might be.
Thank you for your report.
Good to see he no longer attracts the attention he obviously thinks he richly deserves.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | September 23, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow. The libtards are out in farce again, spewing their putrid tripe onto the screens of unwary victims. The partisan moron who "wrote" this article is simply looking for an excuse to unfairly bash a Republican, ANY Republican. Time for truth: Tom Delay is not a criminal and he is not responsible for the lowered ratings of a show that is mediocre at best. DWTS is finally sinking into the swamp with the other overblown "reality" shows. Good riddance.

Posted by: braindeadliberals | September 23, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, I think that was predictable. What exactly were they expecting? Maybe they were hoping it would be funny? Who knows. Maybe they should have got Jack Abramoff to be his dance partner.

Dude Angus

Posted by: Dude_Angus | September 23, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

CNN's Jack Cafferty made a good point in saying that when DeLay gets sent to Prison, the guards should show the video showing Delay's dance moves to the general prisoner population.

It's sure to make "Tommy" popular with the convicts.

Posted by: abelito | September 23, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

ABC chose to ignore the bombardment of email threatening to boycott the show if an indicted criminal was the best they could do. There are limits to what the public as a whole will accept.

Posted by: xclntcat | September 23, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Tom Delay dancing to one of my all time favorite songs...I'll never hear it in the same way again. Thanks ABC, for nothing!

Posted by: kpl1 | September 23, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Funny, the GOPers always call it the "liberal media" if anyone says anything they don't like - yet is there any network more partisan than FOX? Not.

Posted by: Bushlegacylies | September 23, 2009 3:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm kinda sorry I missed Delay trying to dance...
Let's see..... he's dirty, and he tried to dance....
I guess that's what you would call

Posted by: butch1227 | September 23, 2009 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Love to hear the rethug posters defending Delay as he makes a complete fool of himself. Who cares about the ratings?

This is all about an indicted criminal/washed-up republican politician (am I being repetitive?) who epitomizes the stupidity of the right.

Well, at least he's not hanging out in airport men's rooms, or flying to Argentina to visit his soulmate (on State funds), or banging the wife of his chief of staff while paying huge sums of hush money.

Wonder if any of the wingnuts actually saw Delay's dirty dancing - he looked like a complete fool - I guess that aspect has not changed much since he left Washington.

Go Hammer!

Posted by: wvining | September 23, 2009 5:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the new season has opened to a much better schedule. People have not yet had time to choose which one appeals to them

Posted by: peep1935 | September 23, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

DeLay the pest exterminator, disgraced congressman and disgraced dancer. Delay should be dancing with Jack Abramoff in prison.

Posted by: jama452 | September 23, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

As an impartial and fair observer with no biases or opinions about Tom DeLay, all I have to say is: oh my god. OHHH MYYY F***ING GAWWWD!!! My eyes. MYYY F***ING EYYYES!!!

Posted by: guytanoparks | September 23, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Your post is HILARIOUS, guytanoparks (September 23, 2009, 7:40 PM).

Frankly, I've never seen this show, and I certainly wouldn't have watched just to see jail-bait Delay... Besides, he's one of the UGLIEST SOB'S I've ever seen... I wonder if his dancing partner had nightmares, that night...!!!???

Posted by: butch1227 | September 24, 2009 3:59 AM | Report abuse

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