Erin Andrews has a big job. She needs to get Dancing With The Stars' ratings up, even though producers would never admit it. The question is: Can the sexy sportscaster bring ABC the same kinds of viewership she drew to Fox? It's questionable at best.
Erin Andrews drums up drama wherever she goes. But her popularity in sports journalism is somewhat (to very) 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? Maybe not. But Andrews' other reputation could. Like Charlie Sheen or Alec Baldwin, Andrews seems to stir up controversy wherever she goes.
In 2009, a blurry, nude video of Andrews made its way to the Internet when she was an ESPN sideline reporter. At the time, of course, Andrews was horrified. But strangely, the racy footage got the blond beauty a lot more fans.
At the time Jemele Hill, a columnist at ESPN.com, felt frustrated about what happened. "Everybody knows that Erin Andrews equals instant hits [from readers online] … and people who used her likeness and photos to drive Web traffic, I think a lot of them feel genuine remorse," Hill said. "That's not to say that any of the blogs which encouraged this fascination with her are to blame. But I think they see more clearly how their irresponsibility made this feasible and created a market for someone to take advantage of her."
In February, Andrews grabbed headlines again for all the wrong reasons. Andrews didn't have a chance to speak with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman after the Super Bowl. But she received plenty of attention for what many considered a highly offensive rant by Sherman after the Seahawks buried the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 19.
Going off on the 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Sherman told Andrews and the camera: "I'm the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get! Don't you ever talk about me! Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'll shut it for you real quick!"
In the aftermath of Andrews and Sherman's controversial interview, the sportscaster found herself in a strange position: She was defending Sherman."I don't think it was bizarre. I think it was great," Andrews said on Fox's Media Buzz. "I wish more athletes would be like that. We want someone to lose their minds like that."
Andrews continued: "That's why it went viral; that's why people were going bananas over it. You don't usually see athletes doing that. You see them very composed."
Often dismissed as just another pretty face, Andrews has tackled some vicious comments herself from sports fans saying she's not a rough-and-tumble interviewer. Legendary sports writer Jeff Pearlman was appalled by the interview, partially blaming Andrews' inability to probe deeper. "Good reporters — even good television sideline reporters — are trusted to interview. To probe. To dig. To report. They do so subtly, yes, and in limited doses. But they do, indeed, do so," he wrote.
"Andrews, however, was not signed away from ESPN [by Fox] because she’s a high-caliber reporter, or because she possesses a unique view of the game, or incredible knowledge. She was hired away from ESPN [by Fox] because guys think she’s hot."
Is that why ABC producers hired Andrews for Dancing With The Stars? Let us know your take in the comments section below!