Saturday, November 18, 2017
TV and Media

Ryan Lochte is in talks to be on 'Dancing With the Stars' — right where he should be

RECOMMENDED READING


After he fabricated details of a robbery at the Rio Olympics that caused an international incident, embattled swimmer Ryan Lochte's sponsors have been dropping him left and right. But there's still one place that very much wants to be in the Lochte business: Dancing With the Stars.

On Wednesday, People magazine reported that the hit ABC reality competition is courting Lochte to be on Season 23, which debuts in mid September. ("Ryan has wanted to be on the show for years," a show "insider" said.) An ABC source confirmed to the Washington Post that Lochte is in talks to be on the show, though as usual, nothing will be officially announced until the cast is revealed next week on Good Morning America.

Either way, let's break this down: Lochte has to go on Dancing With the Stars.

DWTS is the ideal safe space for scandal-ridden celebrities — or more specifically, for stars that want to change the conversation. It's good old-fashioned image management. Just ask former contestants Paula Deen, Gary Busey or David Hasselhoff, best known for controversies or erratic behavior. On DWTS, there's an equal playing field: Everyone embarrasses themselves as they wear tacky clothes and struggle to learn the dances.

Even though Lochte might be the most recently disgraced contestant in show history, it would certainly change the narrative to see him on TV every week in a sparkly costume; he could hopefully display an ounce of humility and self-awareness.

Yet as helpful as an appearance would be, the show doesn't always treat celebrities with kid gloves. (A few years ago, host Tom Bergeron warned producers that they shouldn't have him interview musical guest Chris Brown unless Brown was prepared to answer some very uncomfortable questions.) There's no doubt that if Lochte is a contestant, his damaging lies from Rio will come up. But Lochte would be in a controlled environment with so many other distractions, and the main objective — no matter the reason for being there — is to dance well enough to capture the amazingly gaudy Mirror Ball Trophy.

It's a win-win for ABC: While the show is still going strong with an average of about 13 million viewers per episode last season, ratings have been steadily declining over the years — about 20 million people watched weekly in its heyday around 2011. A Lochte appearance would be a must-watch, especially after all the negative Olympics publicity.

Overall, Lochte still has a ways to go on his road to redemption. But Dancing With the Stars is a truly strong start.

Comments

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 300 qualifying11 a.m.CNBCXfinity: Ford EcoBoost 3003:30 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballMaryland-Eastern Shore at GeorgetownnoonFox SunBucknell at Maryland8:30 p.m.Big TenGolfPGA Europe: Tour Championship2:30 a.m.GolfPGA: ...
Published: 11/17/17
Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Tampa Bay Times spotted a squirrel digging a nearly entire slice of pizza out of a trash can at 146 Second St. N in St. Petersburg. The squirrel hoppe...
Published: 11/17/17
Jeffrey Tambor accused of sexual harassment by his ‘Transparent’ co-star

Jeffrey Tambor accused of sexual harassment by his ‘Transparent’ co-star

"Transparent" actress Trace Lysette has accused actor Jeffrey Tambor of sexually harassing her on the set of the Amazon series.Lysette’s allegations mark the second time the star, who plays Maura Pfefferman on the critically acclaimed dramedy, has be...
Published: 11/17/17
Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

WINNERS:Taylor SwiftFollowing the death of his mother, Gloria, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon shared a touching story with the audience about his mom squeezing his hand three times and saying "I love you," when he was a kid. "Last week, I was in ...
Published: 11/17/17
Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

The parents in Runaways really are the worst.Hulu's new Marvel series follows a ragtag group of teenagers who have to band together to defeat their own parents, who are collective members of a secret criminal organization called the Pride.In the wake...
Published: 11/17/17
What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

GRIEF AND GUNS: THE PUNISHERMarvel fans first saw Marine veteran Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) in Netflix's Daredevil series. The brutish anti-hero finally gets his own series with The Punisher, exploring what he did after helping Daredevil (Charlie Co...
Published: 11/17/17
Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward is having a good year.At a glamorous ceremony Wednesday night in New York, Ward was named the winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing, about a Mississippi family's epic road trip. The book is Ward's third novel ...
Published: 11/16/17
Your heart can go on when ‘Titanic’ returns to theaters

Your heart can go on when ‘Titanic’ returns to theaters

It's the holiday season, so why not capitalize on a beloved film by bringing it back to theaters for a limited engagement?That's what Dolby Laboratories, Paramount Pictures and AMC Theaters are doing, announcing that a remastered version of Titanic w...
Published: 11/15/17

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballIndiana at Seton Hall6:30 p.m.FS1Montana State at Penn State7 p.m.Big TenUSF at Stetson8 p.m.820-AMButler at Maryland8:30 p.m.FS1Creighton at Northwestern9 p.m.Big TenCollege footballE. Michigan at Miami (Ohio)7 p.m.CBSSNW. Mic...
Published: 11/14/17