Bristol Palin, The Hoff and The Situation top tabloid-sized edition of ABC's Dancing with the Stars
Say this for the minds behind ABC's unscripted hit Dancing with the Stars: They learn quick.
When tabloid queen Kate Gosselin goosed the show's ratings -- despite dance moves so awkward and plodding she made 80something Buzz Aldrin look good -- producers took heed (didn't hurt that buzzed-about ESPN star Erin Andrews and tabloid mainstay Pamela Anderson were also along for the ride). So this fall's lineup of celebrity participants, announced Monday during The Bachelor spinoff Bachelor Pad, falls much closer to the tabloid side of town than we've seen before.
The big name gossip sheet-wise is Bristol Palin, a celebrity offspring who has made more money guesting on TV shows than she ever could if momma Sarah had actually landed in the White House. It also completes her sordid, hypocritical spiral through TMZ-fed celebrity -- getting pregnant out of wedlock as a teen, despite mom's abstinence values; breaking up with her baby's father, despite mom's conservative family values; getting back together with him, despite the obvious and bitter hatred he had for Momma Sarah and breaking up with him again after finding out he may have gotten another woman pregnant.
Even if she tangos like a dead moose, young Bristol will be good for oodles of US magazine covers and snippy TMZ exposes.
Alongside Palin is David Hasselhoff, whose drunken fumblings have dismayed his family and turned his name into an even bigger punchline. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, the Jersey Shore star who turned tight abs and a knuckleheaded attitude into a million-dollar, tabloid-fueled career. Audrina Patridge, a former star of MTV's scripted "reality" show The Hills. Brandy Norwood, the once-mega-famous R&B prodigy who got in a car accident which killed a man a few years ago. And Jennifer Grey, the Dirty Dancing star who mostly made headlines for getting a nose job many years ago that hobbled her acting career by turning her into just another generic L.A. beauty.
The other celebs cued up this year fit the typical types recruited by Dancing every year. There's the spunky, senior citizen showbiz veteran (former Brady Bunch matriarch Florence Henderson), the retired NFL legend (ex-St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner), the plucky tween star (Disney Channel star Kyle Massey), the bawdy comic (bawdy comic Margaret Cho), the other retired athlete (ex-NBA star Rick Fox), the aging boomer hero (bionic voiced pop star Michael Bolton).
Sorry tabloid addicts: Ryan O'Neal and Kirstie Alley, two buzzed-about early candidates, are not on board this time.
Forgive the downer attitude, but this may be another case of Dancing producers overdosing on a good thing (remember when they kicked off a season with 16 celebrities? Most of whom could barely tap their feet in time?) It's hard to imagine Dancing's core demographic -- middle-aged women, let's face it -- even know who Sorrentino and Patridge are. Here's hoping these non-actors, famous for appearing in unscripted show to supposedly be themselves on camera, have figured out how to perform better than Gosselin.
Otherwise, could be a very long fall season for ABC.
Below are key dates for Season 11 (dates and times subject to change):
• “Dancing with the Stars,” two-hour season premiere performance show, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET).
• “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show,” two-hour season premiere, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET).
• “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show,” regular time premiere, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET).
• “Dancing with the Stars” 200th Episode Celebration, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1 and TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2 (Time is TBD)
• “Dancing with the Stars,” final performance show, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22 (Time is TBD)
• “Dancing with the Stars” season finale, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (Time is TBD)
Here's the bios ABC provided:
MICHAEL BOLTON – Michael Bolton has sold more than 53 million records, released 18 studio albums, won multiple Grammys® for Best Male Vocalist and countless other honors, all while selling out arenas worldwide. In 2002 the singer-songwriter earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. He has sung with Luciano Pavarotti and Ray Charles, written songs with Bob Dylan, Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga, penned hits for a diverse range of artists, including Barbra Streisand and KISS, played guitar with B.B. King and had his music recorded on a track by hip-hop superstar Kanye West (featuring megastar Jay-Z).
BRANDY – Brandy is a platinum-selling R&B and pop singer, actress, songwriter and record/television producer. In 1994, at the age of 15, Brandy released her eponymous debut album, selling over 6 million copies. Following a major success with “The Boy Is Mine,” a duet with singer Monica, which spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, she won a Grammy® Award for Best R&B performance by a duo or group.
MARGARET CHO – One of the most successful stand-up comediennes of today, Margaret Cho’s performances have been seen by millions around the world. Having first performed stand-up in her native San Francisco at the age of 16, Cho’s best-selling tours include the off-Broadway hit/concert film “I’m the One That I Want,” “Notorious C.H.O.,” “Revolution” and “Beautiful.”
RICK FOX – Three-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, actor and producer Rick Fox has appeared in a number of film and television projects, sharing the screen with actors ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Henry Winkler, Angela Bassett and Shia LeBeouf.
JENNIFER GREY – A beloved actress of both film and television, Jennifer Grey is best known for her starring roles in the iconic movies “Dirty Dancing” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”The daughter of Tony® and Academy Award® winner Joel Grey, she resides in Los Angeles with her family, actor/director Clark Gregg and daughter.
DAVID HASSELHOFF – Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Most Watched TV Star in the World,” David Hasselhoff is an international superstar across all genres of music, television and film. Hasselhoff got his start in entertainment on the popular soap opera, “The Young and the Restless,” and was quickly pursued to play the lead role of the 1980’s cult favorite, “Knight Rider.”
FLORENCE HENDERSON – Florence Henderson is a multi-talented actress, talk show host, recording artist, author, Broadway veteran and philanthropist. Her career is as active today as when she first appeared as the “Today Girl” on “NBC’s Today Show,” and as the first woman to host “The Tonight Show.” She will always be best known in syndication worldwide as “America’s Favorite Mom” and matriarch Carol Brady on the classic hit TV series “The Brady Bunch,” which aired for five seasons (1969-1974), has never been off the air in this country, and currently airs in 122 countries around the world.
KYLE MASSEY – Kyle Orlando Massey stars as Cory Baxter in Disney Channel’s No. 1 hit sitcom, “Cory in the House,” Disney Channel’s first-ever spin-off. He originated the role of Cory in Disney’s “That’s So Raven,” the first show in Disney’s history to produce over 100 episodes.
BRISTOL PALIN – Bristol Palin, former first daughter of Alaska, first entered the national spotlight when her mother, former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was selected to be John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential election. After giving birth to her son, Tripp, and becoming a single teen mother in 2008, she became a spokesperson for the prevention of teen pregnancy and for other teen issues.
AUDRINA PATRIDGE – After starring in six seasons of the hit series “The Hills,” Audrina Patridge has joined the ranks of young Hollywood as one of the most sought-after and talked about talents on television. Patridge, who aspired to become an actress from a very early age, has been honing her skills with regarded coaches and private acting classes.
MIKE “THE SITUATION” SORRENTINO – Mike Sorrentino has become one of Hollywood’s emerging talents. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Manalapan, New Jersey, Sorrentino is most known for starring on the hit show “The Jersey Shore,” now in its second season on MTV.
KURT WARNER – Kurt Warner is the first quarterback ever to participate in “Dancing with the Stars.” In 1999 he emerged from obscurity to lead the St. Louis Rams to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. In that same year, Warner was named the NFL and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.