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A gold medalist, a bachelor and other tabloid favorites join Kate Gosselin on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Eleven celebrities are set to sashay on ABC's popular "Dancing With the Stars" program on Mon., March 22.

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By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kate Gosselin, the World's Most Put-Upon Mom, will face stiff competition when she joins ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" later this month.

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In-the-news celebrities, including Olympic gold-medal-winning figure skater Evan Lysacek and secret-video victim/ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews, will battle Gosselin in the dance competition series, along with more established celebs such as "Original Moonwalker" Buzz Aldrin, aging "model/actress" Pamela Anderson, professional difficult person/actress Shannen Doherty, and a bunch of others.

And, just moments after Jake Pavelka of "The Bachelor" proposed to this season's Most Hated Contestant, Vienna, on that ABC reality series finale Monday night, ABC announced that Pavelka -- The Man with No Judgment -- will see if he isn't better dancing than he is at picking a mate.

As previously reported in The TV Column, Gosselin, star of the Silver Spring-based TLC network's reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8," was chosen to be one of the competitors despite having admitted on "The Jay Leno Show" that she "so cannot dance."

Gosselin will have some serious work to do if she expects to win the competition's Miss Tabloid Victim crown; Andrews made headlines because a stalker guy secretly videotaped her in the nude while she thought she was in the privacy of her hotel room.

Gosselin will also have to grapple with the distinct possibility she's going to be upstaged -- and Gosselin hates being upstaged -- by Lysacek, who's something of an American hero at the moment, owing to his upset of Russian Evgeni Plushenko in the Olympic men's figure skating competition.

After the judges awarded Lysacek the gold he immediately got slammed by people who thought he did not deserve it. At the epicenter of the controversy: Plushenko had executed a quadruple jump during his performance; Lysacek did not. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin even got into the act. Let's see Gosselin top that.

ABC forced fanatic fans of "Dancing" to slog through the two-hour finale of "The Bachelor" Monday night to find out who was competing on the next "Dancing." We had been told that throughout the show -- which, we cannot mention enough, was two hours long -- that "DWTS" host Tom Bergeron and former finalist Melissa Rycroft were going to periodically pop up and drop the name of another new celebrity dancer, as though they were leaving a trail of bread crumbs to help us find our way safely through the Enchanted But Not in a Good Way Forest.

Instead, "DWTS" fanatics found themselves wandering through the scary woods with no crumbs to help guide them and Bergeron/Rycroft didn't show up until 9:55 p.m. to toss out nearly the whole bag of crumbs at once.

But they saved the announcement of a "very special" cast member for the post-finale "The Bachelor: After the Final Rose." Only the Very Special Person turned out just to be Pavelka. Apparently Bergeron was not actually watching "The Bachelor" finale.

During the finale, Pavelka proposed to 23-year-old Vienna Girardi, the marketing representative from Florida who had already been crowned this season's token Most Universally Disliked, according to our "Bachelor" analyst Emily Yahr, who reports that Vienna's tagline was "I didn't come here to make friends."

Pavelka rejected 25-year-old Tenley, the bubbly college admissions representative from Oregon with whom he said he lacked "physical chemistry." Men!

* * *

Jay Leno's return to NBC's "Tonight Show" on Monday attracted 6.6 million viewers. His competitor, CBS's David Letterman, averaged 3.8 million, and ABC's "Nightline" clocked 4 million from 12:35 a.m. to 1:05 a.m. Leno also beat Letterman among the younger viewers -- the network's target.

For watercooler purposes, Conan O'Brien's first night hosting "Tonight" -- Monday was Leno's first night back in the saddle since NBC dumped him so Conan could take over -- attracted a much larger crowd of 9.2 million. On the other hand, by the time the fourth quarter wrapped, Conan's average audience on the show had plunged to 2.5 million.

Leno's Monday audience also was bigger than any he'd collected on his now-defunct primetime show since early December.

* * *

The Miss America Pageant is homeless again after TLC announced it had broken up with the franchise.

"Our three-year deal has concluded and we have chosen not to renew," TLC said coyly in a statement. It declined to elaborate.

On the other hand, TLC wanted to take credit for the pageant's slight ratings improvement, saying it was "happy" to have been part of the "modernization and revitalization" of the venerable show: "This year we delivered record ratings, besting any of its prior performance on cable."

This is like bragging about your child's grades, then dropping them off at the orphanage.

"They're not dumping Miss America. They wanted Miss America -- they just didn't want to pay the same number for it that they'd been paying," Miss America Organization Chairman Sam Haskell told the Associated Press.

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