Tuesday, February 28, 2006

ABC To Launch "Touchdown Dancing With the Stars"

Jerry Rice won three Super Bowl rings during his brilliant NFL career.  However, he came up just short in his most recent bid for a championship, settling for second place in Sunday’s Dancing With the Stars.  His performance was strong enough that ABC looks to continue showcasing star wide receivers and fancy footwork.  This spring, the network will entertain viewers with Touchdown Dancing With the Stars.



ABC has been thrilled by the huge ratings enjoyed during both seasons of Dancing With the Stars.  In its initial run, the show was last summer’s most successful series.  Ratings were stellar once again this January and February, with singer Drew Lachey teaming with professional dancer Cheryl Burke to triumph in the finals.  The NFL’s popularity led ABC to choose Touchdown Dancing With the Stars as its next version, over second choice Chicken Dancing With the Stars.



The new show will match celebrities with NFL wide receivers who have demonstrated great skill in performing touchdown dances.  Participants have not been announced, but Cincinnati native Lachey is expected to return and join up with Bengals star Chad Johnson.  Also, New Orleans wideout Joe Horn will reportedly team up on a cell phone routine with Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” guy.



One high-profile player who will not participate is Terrell Owens.  The soon-to-be former Eagle was highly coveted for the competition, given the variety of celebrations he has staged in the end zone.  However, T.O. reportedly balked when told that he would have to be part of a team.  ABC insiders also claim that he was disruptive in meetings with network executives.  Reportedly, the last straw occurred when Owens engaged in a conference room fight with ABC’s self-proclaimed network ambassador.



The competition will take place in the end zone of an actual football field.  The partners will take turns, alternating as the scorer and the teammate joining the celebration.  While creativity is crucial, the technical portion is just as important.  Slipping on the turf or knocking over an official stationed in the end zone could take points away.  During the advanced stages of the competition, conditions of an opposing stadium will be simulated.  Therefore, competitors must execute their routines while being cursed out and having beer thrown at them.



Voting and the elimination process will be similar to Dancing With the Stars.  Professional judges are expected to include touchdown dancing pioneers Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Ickey Woods.  Results will be based on a combination of voting from the judges and from the viewers – online and by telephone.  Each week, the partners with the lowest score will be knocked out of the competition.  Literally, as they will receive crushing hits from Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher.



In the end, a talented field will narrow down to one team that gets to be called the champion.  For that reason, ABC compares Touchdown Dancing With the Stars to the NCAA basketball tournament.  It may not be March Madness, but it definitely is the Big Dance.