8 Short-Lived Dance Competitions, From ‘Born to Dance’ to ‘Dance Fever’
But now CBS is hoping its latest addition to the dance-competition genre will fall into the former category. The network’s new show Come Dance With Me — executive-produced by NCIS: Los Angeles costars LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell — features talented kids joining untrained family members to compete for a $100,000 prize.
Come Dance With Me sounds promising enough, but then again, so did the shows below, which were canceled after Season 1 — or, in one case, after just a few episodes.
Born to Dance: Laurieann Gibson
Emmy-nominated choreographer Laurieann Gibson presided over this BET dance competition, which aired one season in the summer of 2011. Twenty young dancers vied for the $50,000 prize, with Gibson offering her “hottest choreography and signature tough love” and hooking up the winner with her longtime collaborator Lady Gaga.
Game show mastermind Merv Griffin executive-produced this ABC Family update of his syndicated ‘80s show of the same name. In the newer version — which aired in the summer of 2003 — Carmen Electra, MC Hammer, and Jaime King judged the dance efforts of 48 finalists. “It’s taking on every dance style from hip-hop to swing, with maybe the occasional disco dancer,” Griffin told the Los Angeles Times at the time.
This Dance Machine wasn’t a ratings machine, unfortunately: ABC canceled it after just three episodes. While it lasted, however, the 2008 show had Jason Kennedy emceeing a $100,000 dance-off between amateurs from all walks of life — with a 70-year-old grandmother battling a 25-year-old gravedigger to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” for example.
Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann
Two of Dancing With the Stars’ longtime judges, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba, assembled dream teams of dancers for this 2008 ABC show. Each week, viewers would vote for their favorite team, while the captain of each episode’s losing team had to say goodbye to one of their teammates. The grand prize was a Hollywood Records recording contract — which never amounted to much, according to the New York Post. (Team Bruno member Zack Wilson did, however, serve as dance coach and stand-in for Zac Efron on High School Musical 3.)
Live to Dance
Paula Abdul, this 2011 CBS show’s executive producer and head judge, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Live to Dance was one of the bucket-list experiences she focused on after leaving American Idol. “I celebrate having shows that are a platform for raw, untapped talent. In my mind, there can never be too many of those shows,” she said. Despite the lure of a $500,000 grand prize, though, this cross-country dance competition never caught on with viewers.
Skating With Celebrities
In an apparent attempt to cash in on Dancing With the Stars’ success, Fox trotted out this figure skating competition in 2006, with celebs like Dave Coulier and Caitlyn Jenner taking the ice as the judges — including Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill — graded their efforts. Actress Kristy Swanson won the show’s first and only season, and she even married her skating partner, Lloyd Eisler.
Step It Up and Dance
In 2008, back when Bravo was still focusing on competition shows (e.g. Top Design and Shear Genius), the cable channel brought us this contest. Saved by the Bell and Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley hosted the show as Tony-winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell put the aspiring dances through their paces in “every conceivable dance style, from ballet and ballroom to Broadway and burlesque.”
Superstars of Dance
Nigel Lythgoe of So You Think You Can Dance fame created this 2009 competition, which featured teams and judges from around the world competing in a show that was “equal parts sporting event, rock concert, and artistic exhibition,” according to NBC. But even with Michael “Lord of the Dance” Flatley co-hosting the show, these dance superstars were outpaced in the ratings by NFL games and certain Desperate Housewives.
Come Dance with Me, Series Premiere, Friday, April 15, 8/7c, CBS