September 21, 2012
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'DWTS: All-Stars' ready for battle
By Bill Harris, QMI Agency


Actress Pamela Anderson and Drew Lachey, two of the cast members of the upcoming reality series "Dancing with the Stars: All Stars" speaks during a panel discussion at the Disney-ABC Television Group portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

There are only a handful of entertainment vehicles in which wearing a cape might be considered stylish and appropriate.

Coincidentally and conveniently, two of them are superhero movies and Dancing With the Stars.

"For us, this is almost our version of The Avengers," said Dancing With the Stars executive producer Conrad Green. "These were the superheroes of their particular seasons, and they're back."

Green, of course, was referring to Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars, the new edition of the reality-competition extravaganza that debuts with a two-hour installment, Monday on ABC and CTV.

The Avengers? Debatable. More like The Hunger Games, since some of these people probably need the work.

Nonetheless, Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars provides for the return of some of the show's most notable dancers and biggest personalities through the years.

On the roster: Pamela Anderson, Emmitt Smith, Kirstie Alley, Bristol Palin, Joey Fatone, Kelly Monaco, Sabrina Bryan, Helio Castroneves, Shawn Johnson, Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, Apolo Anton Ohno and Melissa Rycroft.

"We've talked about doing all"'stars for a long time," Green said. "We're now in our 15th season. We've had over 130 celebrities who have appeared on this show.

"We wanted to be able to pick the best of the best and make something that celebrates the range and the sort of humour and the brilliance of dancing. So we felt we needed enough time to build up the stock, as it were.

"This felt like a perfect time, because I think there's a genuine warmth and appetite from our audience to see people again, and so this is where we're at."

Speaking honestly about where things are at, it's also true that Dancing With the Stars is facing more direct competition these days.

Reality shows The Voice and The X Factor already are battling for glitz-focused eyeballs this fall. It's a tri-network showdown in the United States, with Dancing With the Stars on ABC, The Voice on NBC and The X Factor on Fox.

In Canada it's actually an intramural competition for Bell Media, which owns Canadian rights to all three shows and can shuffle them between CTV and CTV Two.

But U.S. ratings for Dancing With the Stars dipped last season, even though it still handily beat The Voice in overall numbers when they went head-to-head.

"A lot of people who are watching (The Voice) would probably be watching our show (otherwise), so I think that explains a lot of that dip," Green said.

"This is about giving a treat to our audience, and it's about breaking the rhythm a little to remind people of everything that has been great about the show.

"This was one of the hardest (editions) to cast, because there was a lot more interest than there were slots."

Well, Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars is The Avengers of reality TV, after all. You can't let in every Hulk or Thor.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca




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