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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.

Reality TV star Kate Gosselin takes the stage on 'DWTS.' (Adam Larkey -- ABC)

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.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 23, 2010; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Heck, I got my husband to watch the fabulous train-wreck that is DWTS* simply but murmmuring "Pamela Anderson" in his ear. ( * ) Stars defined as someone whose name you think you may have heard before in some context or another.

Posted by: kbockl | March 23, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I watched DWTS last night just to watch Kate crash and burn. I am not normally a viewer. Won't watch again. Just as her introduction "package" came on my TV froze, apparently my HD signal went out. I waited a couple minutes and then turned to the non-HD ABC channel just to catch the last couple seconds of her routine. If she did boost the ratings, it was because many people were wanting to watch Kate choke after bragging that she was going to win the whole thing. Give Evan some credit. I think a lot of people tuned in to see how good he was going to be and he didn't disappoint.

Posted by: mrsphotography | March 23, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I will turn on Dancing with the Stars once Kate is voted out.

Posted by: cindymcgivern | March 23, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Pam could win it. She did a dancesport storyline in a Baywatch episode some time ago.

Posted by: bs2004 | March 23, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Your statement "whose talents clearly have been squandered in the small-potatoes landscape of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is really puzzling. Exactly WHAT are her talents?? I have looked and looked and see NOTHING. She cannot act, is not witty, has no real personality and now seriously cannot dance. WHAT TALENTS? You and TLC and ABC keep pushing this woman, who is really a dud. All she can talk about is ME, MINE and has to always throw in "for my kids". Who is she trying to convince? Herself or us? Her "this is for the Moms". Everyone I know cannot relate to this Hollywood starlet wannna be. She told access Hollywood her costumes would be "modest", for "the kids". So why does she walk around all the rest of the time, in hooker heels, breasts hanging out and skirts up to her throat? Such hypocrisy. It is laughable.

Posted by: bizyme2009 | March 23, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It's called "Dancing with the Stars" not who's got talent. You just need to be in the news and have a following, either good or bad to qualify. By many of the posters own admissions, they watched to see Kate crash and burn, so their ploy worked. YOU WATCHED! Of course she wants to win, but she admitted she had two left feet and her partner has a very hard job. She has been honest about not being talented. I'm curious to see how much she can improve and I hope she gets a chance.

Posted by: kkend63 | March 23, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

She is the last reason anyone would tune in to see DWTS. Erin Andrews and Pam Anderson would be the real reason. The author just doesn't have a clue.

Posted by: HughRFC | March 23, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why good ratings should be attributed to Kate. What about the other "stars," including the men's olympic gold medalist, on the show? Kate is nothing more than a self-centered, utterly untalented, neglectful mother and hateful human being. I'll watch the show when she's gone, which should be very soon. The judge who said that her partner was pushing around a shopping cart hit the nail on the head. In short, there's absolutely no evidence that Kate was responsible for the ratings. What's the basis for this assertion?

Posted by: Mako3 | March 23, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I only watched because I was hoping to see that Kate had some kind of talent, maybe dancing would be it. Great disappointment - won't watch again until she's voted off. If she would stop bringing her kids into every conversation, maybe I could tolerate her. We all know she's got 8 kids for pete's sake, why does she have to keep reminding us. She has nothing to offer as an entertainer. Why was she the only one with a body guard? Nobody cares anymore.

Posted by: WindyCity | March 23, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed I watched the show. It is just a start and I agree with Bruno of what he said about the shopping cart. I think Kate is doing this just to show off what she is trying to do. She started off with a slow dance and I am very curious of what she will do with a fast dance. She is right when she said she can't dance. I heard she is munipulating and critizing her partner and that will lead her nowhere. She is trying to tell HIM what to do and that is what she is great at doing. If she gets bumped off the show I hope she dosen't think she has movie talent.

Posted by: BUBBLES1935 | March 23, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Yada, yada, yada. Surprised Washington Post has a comment about DWTS and especially the comment about the upscaling of the Gosselien frump.

Posted by: MissClarty | March 23, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Kate Gosselin is the new Edna Everedge. Barry Humphries better watch out.

Posted by: greenmountainboy | March 24, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I think there is too much focus being put on Kate. She was not the only reason for the ratings. Pamela Anderson deserves some credit.

Posted by: paigelws6 | March 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

What makes you think the ratings were for Kate Gosselin? There were far more interesting stars and the reason she got a low score was that she is a really bad dancer with no rhythm. She'll be back with her brood pretty soon.

Posted by: keswickstables | March 24, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the comments, some of you need to have your sarcasm sensors tuned up.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | March 25, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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