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ABC exec wants more “controversy,” “edge,” and “competition,” on Dancing, which may cross over to Eli Stone

Dancing with the Stars got a little boring, according to ABC’s entertainment president Steve McPherson. He told critics this morning that the inevitability of Kristi Yamaguchi’s win, in addition to the collection of “nice” personalities, made the show dry.

“There wasn’t a whole lot going on. I think it’s good to have some controversy,” he said. “I think that, for me, it wasn’t just Kristi. I think that the kind of real finalists were really great dancers, really fun, but just nice, sweet personalities. … It’s good to have a little bit more edge at times and a little bit more competition.”

He said that test audiences “weren’t as passionate about an individual competitor as in years past. So I think it’s just about getting the right casting mix. And sometimes it’s about who falls in and who falls out early or late. We never anticipate who it’s going to be — Jason Taylor. Honestly, when we booked him, we figured he’d be out in week two.”

McPherson wouldn’t confirm any cast members, and would only say they’re casting “exciting names for the fall.” During a lunchtime performance and Q&A, Julianne Hough actually said she didn’t yet know if she was going to be on Dancing with the Stars 7.

“The show, even though it’s a reality competition, it’s really about the characters. It’s still about those characters that people fall in love with. I know when I talk to my wife or my family, they’re rooting for certain people in that. When there’s a lot of rooting interest in a lot of different buckets, I think it’s the best show it can be.

In addition, the producers of the (relatively) new ABC drama Eli Stone, which features musical numbers and dance sequences, and will cast Katie Holmes as a guest star next season, said they’ve been talking to ABC about a crossover appearance with cast members from Dancing with the Stars.

Executive producer Marc Guggenheim said that he and the other producers are “scary shameless,” and said, that “overlap with ‘Dancing with the Stars [is] certainly something we’ve been talking about, and something we’ve been talking with the network and with Dancing about, and certainly haven’t ruled that out.”

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  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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