Michael Flatley, considered the man most responsible for introducing the world to the Irish traditional step dance through “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance,” both of which Flatley choreographed, is helping NBC introduce the American viewing public to several more international styles of dance. “Superstars of Dance,” NBC’s newest attempt at reality television, is produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, the same producers that brought America “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol.”
Perhaps NBC can fill the dancing void between “Dancing With The Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Perhaps they can lift themselves out of a ratings slump. “Superstars Of Dance” just might fit the bill.
Because Americans love dancing. Any kind of dancing. Movies that involve dancing, old musicals, new musicals, Broadway, ballrooms, clubs, street, television – Americans take their dance wherever they can find it. Lately, they have been finding it increasingly on television, especially with hit shows like Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” On Sunday, NBC will attempt to capture some top ratings of their own.
“Superstars of Dance” is a reality dance competition between eight nations. The eight nations involved in the first season are: Ireland, India, USA, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia. The competition consists of three parts for each nation: a solo event, a duo event, and a dance troupe event. NBC promotes the show as: “Equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition, “Superstars of Dance” is poised to become one the greatest spectacles of dance performance ever seen on television.”
And it very well could be. Whether that will translate into viewers is another story.
“Superstars of Dance” has something that its very successful predecessors do not: an exclusive line-up of professional dancers. “So You Think You Can Dance” is populated with amateurs who may or may not have had professional training. “Dancing With The Stars” pairs up celebrity amateurs with professional dancers.
Not only are the competitors representing their respective nations, they are representing their particular dance styles as well. Representing well will be a test of personal as well as national pride.
But does it have what it takes to become a hit? Michael Flatley. Nigel Lythgoe. Simon Fuller. Some of the best dancers in the world. Theatrics. Exotic costumes. Tons of talent. The list goes on and on as to why the show should succeed. As to why it could fail, only one thing needs be said: NBC.
According to Neilsen, the network finished last among the big three in overall ratings (week ending 12/28/2008), but the most telling is that not one NBC show, except with the notable exception of “Law & Order: SVU” at No. 16, finished in the Top Twenty shows for the week. If not for a No. 1 ranked Sunday night football game and placing the pre- and post-game shows in the Top Twenty as well, NBC would have fallen below Fox (and perhaps the lowly CW network) in the ratings.
Given the popularity of reality shows and dance shows in particular, “Superstars of Dance” just might pull NBC out of the ratings cellar. It will need something, because once football season is over (NBC broadcasts the Super Bowl on February 2), the anemic network will have to rely on its stable of shows, with “Heroes” and “Law & Order: SVU” leading the pack, both of which are at season’s end. It’s highly rated reality shows, “Deal Or No Deal” and “The Biggest Loser,” are on hiatus as well.
At least “Superstars of Dance” isn’t another atrocious revamping of a ridiculous quasi-science fiction show of the 70’s or 80’s.
Susie Castillo (“House of Payne”) will co-host with Michael Flatley.
Nielsen Media Research