100th episode of Dancing with the Stars airs tonight

Tonight, Dancing with the Stars airs its 100th episode, just shy of its three year anniversary.

Because the producers apparently hate their viewers, they’re celebrating during the results show, the worst part of the series. Actually, the filler-full results show is technically just one hour, which airs at 9, but it’ll be preceded by a one-hour special “Dancing with The Stars: Judges’ All-Time Favorite Dances,” which is apparently a clip show, i.e. more filler.

On the occasion of the 100th episode, Variety looks at the show with a series of pieces, one of which explores the show’s journey from the UK to America, which wasn’t easy. Executive producer Conrad Green says, “One network president said, ‘If that works, I should resign.'”

Variety also looks at the weekly schedule, which includes practice for “six to eight hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays” and Fridays, four to six hours on Saturdays, camera blocking on Sundays, and multiple rehearsals Mondays before the live show. On Tuesdays, after the results show, “the professional dancers are given the music for the following week” and “get right to work on the choreography,” Variety reports.

Another piece gets the producers and judges to admit that athletes have an advantage in the competition. “They definitely have some natural advantages. Athletes are used to getting themselves in perfect condition for just the right moment, which is kind of what our show is like,” Green said, while Bruno Tonioli said, “Athletes have that mentality of being coached — don’t discuss, get on with it. They have to achieve a target. They have the sense of discipline that helps in dance, and that winning mentality helps as well.”

Although athletes have one three of five seasons so far, many athletes have left the competition before non-athletes, and non-athletes make it all the way, “So I don’t think the cards are stacked too much in anyone’s favor, because if they were, it wouldn’t be a very satisfying competition to watch,” Green said.

Finding the quasi-celebrities “takes months of planning, talking with agents and publicists and thinking about how the whole cast will interact,” Variety reports, and casting director Deena Katz “gets more calls from agents and publicists than she can handle.” She said, “Each season, I try to come up with a group that’s appealing overall, so even if you start watching because you’re a fan of Priscilla Presley, soon you’re looking forward to seeing Adam Carolla, too. … By the time we’re putting one season on the air I’m already onto the next one.”

Brit hit ‘Dancing’ finds its U.S. footing, ‘Dancing’ diary: No time to rest, ‘Dancing’ athletes have advantage, and Ultimate contestant a constant search [Variety]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.