It’s nothing new in TV to encounter a reality show that is nothing new. Still, Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance, for CBS, was something of a milestone in the field of derivative reality TV: I’m not sure that I was able to identify a single original idea in it. There was the dance competition, of course, from So You Think You Can Dance. There were the three judges, with light-up podiums, from America’s Got Talent (as well as the mix of young-adult competitors, spunky seniors and adorable kids). There was the garishly overlit, over-mirrored stage set, from most any primetime game show produced in the last decade.
And there was Abdul, from American Idol, who was the presumptive reason for all this: CBS, it seems, saw she was available, wanted to put her in a vehicle quickly, thought “She was a dancer, right?” and proceeded to throw together the most generic version of a dance-reality show you could imagine (which is to say, there was not much imagining involved at all). I never thought I’d say this, but: Hey, Paula was better.
I’ll just have to hope that someone concocts something better for Kara Dio Guardi.