Aw, come on, “Dancing With the Stars” — what do you think you are, “American Idol?”
Although ratings aren’t what they used to be, the endlessly popular “Dancing With the Stars” is one of the last remaining controversy-free shows we have left. (Bristol Palin’s first season aside.) It’s relentlessly upbeat, it’s mildly entertaining, but mostly, it’s just reliable reality show fluff, right down to the hideously tacky Mirror Ball Trophy awarded at the end of every season. Save for an occasional Maks Chmerkovskiy outburst, no one has public feuds, no one is fired, and co-hosts aren’t unceremoniously swapped out … well, until this season, apparently.
Monday morning, “Good Morning America” confirmed what we found out over the weekend: Sportscaster/former “DWTS” contestant Erin Andrews will be the show’s new co-host, alongside the unflappable Tom Bergeron, who has hosted all 17 seasons. For the last seven cycles, he was joined by Brooke Burke-Charvet, a former winner of the show, who replaced Samantha Harris in 2010. By the looks of things, Burke-Charvet was ready to get back to work for Season 18, which kicks off on March 17. Until she was unexpectedly let go on Friday, as she tweeted:
— Brooke Burke-Charvet (@brookeburke) February 22, 2014
She released a statement to E! Online that she “understand[s] the need for change considering the position of the show at this juncture.” (Translation? The show’s losing viewers.) Burke-Charvet twisted the knife: “I’ve seen my fair share of shocking eliminations in the ballroom but this one takes the cake.”
So she’s mad — and not the only one abruptly fired. The show’s nearly 30-person live band, led by Harold Wheeler, was let go last month after working on the show since the beginning; the show will reportedly use a new, smaller band and more pre-recorded music for routines. The American Federation of Musicians fired off a furious statement at ABC, saying “Viewers, whether they are young or old, will reject that as artistic fraud.”
We’re not sure if viewers will care much about the music, but this latest shake-up proves that the show is under major pressure to improve numbers — it’s already been cut to one show a week instead of two. “GMA” also announced this morning that the new cast will be revealed on March 4. What changes will come next? Either way, we sort of hope Burke-Charvet keeps tweeting conspiracy theories:
Here’s the skinny – The show found out Harold Wheeler, the band, Rob & me were putting together our own road show, so they fired us all!