Erin Andrews made her Dancing With The Stars debut on Monday, and the scores for the sexy sportscaster are mixed at best. The ESPN reporter known for her killer legs and long, blond locks, was definitely comfortable on camera. We knew she would be. That's what she does for a living. But her banter with contestants often felt forced, rushed and just plain awkward.
It's clear that DWTS producers are trying to give a big jolt to ratings. Not only did they replace the former co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet. But they also had her replacement, Andrews, ask a lot of probing questions when constestants like Danica McKellar (Wonder Years) and Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) did their post-dance interviews.
Last week, news surfaced that actor Jeremy Miller stop dating the former Full House star to begin a relationship with McKellar. “Candace had a run-in with Danica and told her she was the reason she split with her old boyfriend," a source told Us Weekly. "She used to date Jeremy Miller from Growing Pains years ago, but he broke up with her to date Danica."
Nevertheless, McKellar and Cameron Bure seemed to take all of the poking and prodding in stride. With strong performances garnering a 25 (Cameron Bure) and 24 (McKellar), the former child stars started Season 18 strong.
That's more than some can say for Andrews. The most awkward part of Andrews' interviews was her continual use of the word "package." People who work in television know that in the industry the word "package" means a pre-prepared segment, which often includes background. But how many DWTS viewers know that?
The other complaint by viewers was that Andrews seemed to be overly eager and dominating in the post-dance interviews, which was not the case for Burke-Charvet. Producers may be overcompensating for declining ratings and what was perceived as Burke-Charvet's lack of charisma on-screen.
Erin Andrews drums up drama wherever she goes. But her popularity in sports journalism is somewhat related to her killer legs. Just like Megyn Kelly on Fox, Andrews has become a sex symbol among right-leaning, bravado-bearing men. Here's the problem: Dancing With The Stars' audience skews heavily female and older.
From the start, DWTS has drawn a very specific demographic. One week, out of 23 million total viewers, 43 percent were women over 50. Idol often skews toward women, as well. But historically that demographic was younger.
Recently Dancing With The Stars has lost female viewers, as well. In an effort to increase ratings in Season 17, ABC decided to change the show's format, airing DWTS once a week instead of two. Tom Bergeron told Entertainment Weekly that ratings were definitely behind the format change.
"There were ratings reasons behind [the format change], certainly," Bergeron said in November. "There was also the thought that if you took away the Tuesday show — and this is certainly what I trumpeted when it was first announced — interestingly, the research shows that there wasn’t as much crossover as you’d imagine between the Monday audience and the Tuesday audience. So the thought was, all right, let’s move the Tuesday audience into the Monday show and see if we can bolster up the ratings."
The age of hosts, judges and contestants may be a factor, as well. Though Burke-Charvet is sexy, she's a mom of four in her 40s. Some fans say there's a double standard for male and female hosts. Tom Bergeron is 58, and DWTS judges Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman are 58 and 69 respectively.
Some critics argued Brooke Burke-Charvet couldn't bring in male viewers because she was a 42-year-old mom of four. As hot as she is, they said, men viewed her as over-the-hill. At 35, Andrews is definitely younger. But will that make a difference?
Watch Andrews talk about Season 18 in the video below: