Thursday 21 September 2017

The last tango? RTÉ yet to decide on future of Dancing with the Stars

Denise McCormack, Aidan O’Mahony and Aoibhín Garrihy are in the final of DWTS
Denise McCormack, Aidan O’Mahony and Aoibhín Garrihy are in the final of DWTS
Denise McCormack & Ryan McShane during show 10 of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars
Aoibhin Garrihy with Kai Widdrington dancing a Foxtrot to Big bad handsome man by Imelda May,during the Switch up week in Dancing with the Stars.
Aidan O'Mahoney and Valeria Milova performing during the semi final of RTE's Dancing with the Stars. Photo by Darren Kinsella

Jennifer O'Brien

The State broadcaster has yet to recommission 'Dancing with the Stars' for a second series.

As the grand finale approaches tomorrow evening, production company Shinawil has admitted it's "RTÉ's call" on whether the show returns again next year.

Denise McCormack, Aoibhín Garrihy and Aidan O'Mahony are in the grand final on Sunday night.

"It's solely an RTÉ call - we would love to do another show," executive producer Larry Bass told the Irish Independent.

Aidan O'Mahoney and Valeria Milova performing during the semi final of RTE's Dancing with the Stars. Photo by Darren Kinsella
Aidan O'Mahoney and Valeria Milova performing during the semi final of RTE's Dancing with the Stars. Photo by Darren Kinsella

"It was a big decision to take off a show like 'The Voice', which had a place in the hearts of the nation, and replace it with this.

"Our task was to make the first five minutes of the first show the very best that we could in order to catch the attention of the audience.

"We were on a hiding to nothing if we didn't get the first show right, but we did it and we haven't looked back," Mr Bass (pictured) said.

The viewing figures have dropped 100,000 to 545,000 over the course of the series, but despite this the show has been a success and has attracted the attention of advertisers.

Aoibhin Garrihy with Kai Widdrington dancing a Foxtrot to Big bad handsome man by Imelda May,during the Switch up week in Dancing with the Stars.
Aoibhin Garrihy with Kai Widdrington dancing a Foxtrot to Big bad handsome man by Imelda May,during the Switch up week in Dancing with the Stars.

"A 30-second ad for a show with viewership figures like 'Dancing with the Stars' could cost close to €20,000," one industry expert revealed.

"When you think that there are 16 minutes of ads - that's bringing you half-a-million each week."

If the show does return, next year's contestants could be set to undertake a country-wide tour similar to the 'Strictly Come Dancing' tour.

"I think a tour would be a phenomenal success," Mr Bass admitted.

Denise McCormack & Ryan McShane during show 10 of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars
Denise McCormack & Ryan McShane during show 10 of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars

"I absolutely believe that there is enough desire out there for one.

"If we had 2,500 seats out in Ardmore, we would have filled them, such has been the demand for tickets. If the show is coming back, and we wait to hear from RTÉ on that front, then we can look at it."

Mr Bass admitted that the reason there was no spin-off tour planned this year was down to logistics and the fact that they didn't know how successful the show would go on to be.

"Tours have to be planned well in advance," he said.

"You have to be set up and ready to go with venues and production and it wouldn't have been wise for us to rush into that."

For Mr Bass, the greatest success of the show comes with the places the contestants have gained in the hearts of the people of Ireland.

And he has no worries about casting for another series.

"If we were doing the show again, then I have no doubt that some people we asked, and who declined, would jump at the chance to do it," he said.

"You cannot buy the affection from the people of Ireland that this show has brought to the contestants.

"Look at Des Cahill, working with RTÉ for years, and Teresa Mannion and they now have a special place in people's hearts.

"We've found a brilliant presenting duo in Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne.

"After years of advocating that we should have an Irish version of 'Dancing with the Stars', I'm pleasantly thankful for how it has worked out and how people have received it."

Mr Bass is also confident that stars of the show, including former boy band member Dayl Cronin, could go on to forge successful new careers after it.

The Hometown star was visibly upset after failing to make it through to the final, having been one of the favourites to win the show.

Cronin has admitted that he's hoping to find a career in musicals following his stint on the show and Mr Bass can certainly see that happening.

"Dayl was incredible and this is just the start of things for him," Mr Bass said.

"Last weekend he was very upset when he lost, but if he applies himself to anything the same way that he applied himself to this, he can do absolutely anything that he wants to.

"It's just the beginning of things for him and everybody knows who he is now."

Irish Independent

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