Kate Gosselin kicks 'Dancing with the Stars' up a notch
Kate Gosselin's still got IT!
Performing to a bigger, broadcast audience, the TLC reality star showed she has the makings of a true Hollywood star when she catapulted ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" to its biggest opening audience ever -- nearly 24 million viewers -- Monday night, according to early Nielsen stats.
Dressed in a cast-off Barbara Eden costume from "I Dream of Jeannie" [don't blame me, that's ABC News's description] America's Most Put Upon Mother -- whose talents clearly have been squandered in the small-potatoes landscape of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" -- waltzed her way to the Billy Joel tune "She's Always a Woman to Me" (gak!) with her "good-natured professional partner" [ABC] Tony Dovolani, who has our condolences.
The two-hour "Dancing" spring-season debut beat out last spring debut, which had been the all-time "Dancing" debut high when it clocked around 11 million viewers. But, most impressive, it delivered ABC its best numbers in the two-hour block in about 10 years (excluding the 2001 Monday Rose Bowl broadcast) -- going all the way back to one Monday night when the network aired "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" followed by the first hour of "Arabian Nights" -- one of those Robert Halmi orgy-of-excess miniseries that used to pollute the primetime landscape.
Gosselin received the third lowest score from the judges, ahead of thespian Aiden Turner, and that nice astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who is this year's token Old Celebrity on the show.
ABC suits are now slapping each other on the back for deciding to make some changes to the dance competition, like slimming down the number of celebrity competitors to a more reasonable number -- which is why the show started a couple weeks later this year.
Monday's debut also introduced Tom Bergeron's new straight-woman, thespian Brooke Burke, who had won an earlier edition of "Dancing" -- though you may know her better for her tour de force performances on "Las Vegas," "Less Than Perfect," or "It's all Relative." Burke replaced Samantha Harris as co-host of the cheesetastic dance competition series, so Harris could focus on being a correspondent on the syndicated celebrity suck-up show, "The Insider."
Besides Gosselin, others among this year's C-list lineup have been getting credit for helping goose interest in this edition, including Pamela Anderson and Erin Andrews.
And in one of those incredible ironies that make the business of covering TV so metaphysical, the dance performance of Andrews, ESPN's Peeping-Tom Victim, tied for third place in the judges' voting with the performance of Anderson -- the gents' magazine world's favorite clothing-taker-off-er.
More good news for ABC: the season debut of "Dancing" kicked the show that followed it, "Castle" up to its biggest audience ever -- nearly 13 million people watched. The early statistics are timeslot numbers and "Dancing" ran over by a couple minutes so expect that "Castle" number to go down by about 400,000. But, don't worry, it will still have beaten CBS's "CSI: Miami" handily for the first time ever when the two shows went mano-a-mano with original episodes.
Lisa de Moraes
March 23, 2010; 1:06 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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