Dance Moms renewed: but what about the children?

Lifetime’s documentary series Dance Moms will return for a third season next year, with 26 episodes following Abby Lee Miller and her tortured subjects.

The renewal is unsurprising; as a press release notes, its second season grew 69 percent among adults 18 to 49, 72 percent women 18 to 49, 64 percent adults 25 to 54, and 66 percent women 25 to 54. Lifetime Networks EVP Rob Sharenow said in a press release quote, “With major growth season-to-season and a bonafide star in Abby Lee Miller, Dance Moms continues to be a top performer and important franchise for Lifetime. It’s become a force in the docusoap genre and we’re very pleased to bring Dance Moms back with more episodes next year.”

The odd part to me is how this all but ignores the kids whose backs the series is built on. Abby Lee Miller may scream and her face skin may shake, and the moms may try hard to get the cameras to point back at them so they can get more screen time, but the kids are mentioned only twice in the four paragraphs about the renewal.

They’re mentioned in the description of the series, which deserves an award for the way it manages to turn a crapfest of bad behavior—the kids actually dressed as topless showgirls, and Lifetime aired it!—into sounding like a show that has real value and that I’d want to watch, rather than something that is, at best, unethical in its treatment of its underage stars:

“Dance Moms follows children’s early steps on the road to stardom and their doting mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance and bow…all under Miller’s discerning eyes. Presenting a powerful cast of characters that has inspired water-cooler talk across the country, the show immerses itself in the highs and lows surrounding dance competition season, delivering a captivating and dramatic look at the cast’s intense pursuit of National Dance titles. Centered on the devoted Miller, who runs her school and instructs her young, talented students while also dealing with impassioned mothers who go to great lengths to help their children’s dreams come true, Dance Moms poses the tough questions many people have been asking since the show’s launch about what really goes on behind-the-scenes in the fast-growing and controversial sport of competitive dance.”


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