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ABC orders new 'Let's Dance' celebrity dancing reality competition


By Reality TV World staff, 06/11/2009 

ABC just can't get enough celebrity dancing.

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The network -- already the home of Dancing with the Stars -- has ordered Let's Dance, a new comedic reality competition that will feature celebrities attempting to re-create memorable dance routines, Daily Variety reported Wednesday.

"We do love dancing," ABC reality co-chief Vicki Dummer told Variety. "The tone of this is fun."

Let's Dance will be based on Let's Dance for Comic Relief, a four-episode U.K. series that aired on the BBC to raise money for the Comic Relief charity earlier this year.  ABC has ordered five episodes of its Let's Dance adaptation, which will likely debut after Dancing with the Stars' fall edition ends and air during the holidays, according to Variety

Similar to Dancing with the Stars, Let's Dance will reportedly air live and feature celebrities dancing for home viewer votes.  However unlike Dancing with the Stars, Let's Dance will feature a different group of celebrities performing each week, with only the "top performers" advancing to the show's finale round.

Let's Dance for Comic Relief featured six celebrity teams or individuals performing during each of the program's first three episodes.  Two of the six were then advanced to the final round -- one of which was based on home viewer voting and the second of which was selected by the show's judging panel.  Home viewers then voted to determine which of the six finale performers was crowned the competition's champion.

Let's Dance for Comic Relief was created by Whizz Kid, a British production company.   The company will produce ABC's adaptation with American Idol's FremantleMedia North America production company.

"As I acquire and option formats around the world, we're looking for shows that the whole family can watch together," FremantleMedia executive Julie Uribe told Variety. "Whizz Kids had incredible success in the U.K. with this format, and we do believe this will be attractive to celebrities who may have never considered unscripted TV."

ABC reportedly landed Let's Dance after "a competitive bidding situation."

Some of the dance routines that were re-created on Let Dance's British edition included  Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Britney Spears' "[Hit Me] Baby One More Time," and MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" as well as dance scenes from Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Footloose, and Singing in the Rain.

Let's Dance marks ABC's third attempt to leverage Dancing with the Stars, which ranks as the network's top-rated series. 

In early 2008, the network aired Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, which featured Dancing with the Stars judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba each training a team of non-celebrity dancers who competed against each other.  Last summer, it aired Dance Machine, which featured contestants facing off in a series of one-on-one dance-offs each episode.

ABC canceled Dance Mchine after three episodes and didn't renew Dance War for a second season.

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