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TV Column
Posted at 04:55 PM ET, 06/20/2012

CBS “announces” new reality series ‘Dancing On the Stars,’ will take place at famous Hollywood cemetery


The gravesite of Cecil B. DeMille is shown at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. (Ric Francis - ASSOCIATED PRESS)
CBS — which has taken ABC to court claiming ABC’s reality series “The Glass House” is a ripoff of CBS’s “Big Brother” — announced Wednesday afternoon it is developing a reality series called “Dancing on the Stars,” billed as “an exciting and completely original reality program that owes its concept and execution to nobody at all.”

 “Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network,” the network said Wednesday.

“Dancing on the Stars,” CBS said, will be broadcast from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and will feature “moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.”

The cemetery, CBS noted, houses the remains of Andrew “Fatty” Arbuckle, producer Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Paul Muni, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and George Harrison of the Beatles, among others.

CBS tried unsuccessfully to get a judge to issue a temporary restraining order that would have blocked ABC from launching “The Glass House” this past Monday night, where it attracted about 4 million viewers, after spending $16 million in marketing, and who knows how much in lawyer billable hours.

That was about 1 million fewer viewers than CBS scored in teh 10 p.m. hour with "Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" repeats. To further put "The Glass House's" opening in perspective, one week earlier, ABC’s “Castle” rerun had attracted 5 million viewers in the same hour. ABC's lawyers had argued against CBS's campaign, telling a Los Angeles judge that postponing the show's launch, even temporarily, would be a big blow, given that the company had spent $16 million in its launch marketing campaign.

In CBS's Wednesday afternoon “announcement,” the network noted that permission to broadcast from the location is pending, and if efforts in that regard are unsuccessful, “approaches will be made to Westwood Village Memorial Park, where equally scintillating luminaries are interred.”

 “This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else — honest,” a CBS spokesperson said in the “announcement,” adding that the company has been working with a “secret team” for several months on the creation of the series, which “was completely developed by the people at CBS independent of any other programming on the air.”

Taking the gag one step too far, the CBS rep revealed the network is also working on a half hour comedy for primetime called “Postmodern Family.”

Response in the twittersphere to CBS’s “new show” announcement was immediate and appreciative. Mainstream media response, according to a CBS source, has been “somewhat more variegated, ranging from ‘appreciation’ to ‘incomprehension’.”

We’ve contacted ABC for comment.

By  |  04:55 PM ET, 06/20/2012

 
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