DANCING ON ICE – FINAL THOUGHTS

DANCING ON ICE FINAL
It’s the final of Dancing on Ice which is now in completing its glamorous seventh series. It’s going to be a super show and I wish everyone well this weekend.

WRITE A PIECE NICKY…
I was asked to write a piece for a national daily on ‘What’s happening at DOI and why are the ratings down? What follows is what I submitted. It was “too chatty” and didn’t cover some other areas they were interested in. My stance is: (1) I don’t want to take a swipe and (2) I only want to speak with my voice on things I am sure on. So we amicably agreed not to go ahead.

RATINGS ARE DOWN
The facts of the matter as I have been told, is that the ratings for DOI have been lower at times this year – down from nearly ten to seven million at times. Still good but obviously a good few people have turned off. Why could that be? Here’s my thoughts…

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION…
I grieved and was also a bit relieved after leaving the show two years ago and I have no axe to grind. I judged there for five years and now, as a show producer and performer, I ask myself, Why have the ratings been lower a times? Of course the simple answer is ‘Slater’s not there.’ Jason Gardiner thinks the same no doubt. Yes, yes, but apart from that?

Many ingredients are the same: Jayne and Chris, Phillip presenting, pro skaters, Robin and Karen, big production values and a great time slot. So what’s changed?

WHAT’S GONE…
From the original mix you have lost: Holly Willoughby, Jason Gardiner, Karen Barber being on the judging panel and myself.

Gone then to a degree the, “Oh my goodness what’s going to happen next?” moments generated by those original judging panel members with Holly hosting. This is a key missing element.

IT’S COMFORTABLE NOW
It seems to me that all the main players in the show now have comfortable roles, no one stands on anyone else’s toes and no personalities clash. They are settled and the show is more predictable. The last thing you want for reality TV.

THREE JUDGES – NOT ENOUGH
The judging panel is now three, which is not enough unless the judges are big personalities and built up as stars as on Britain’s Got Talent. This would be in conflict with Chris and Jayne’s position so doesn’t happen. Nowadays the judges have lots of time to speak. How wonderful that must be instead of what I faced. I never knew if Holly would ask me or not, had very limited time and then my colleagues would challenge me. It was real life ‘debates’ with strong characters that were often draining and uncomfortable but sometimes great fun too. I think viewers saw and sensed this. It gave the show an edge.

TENSION MUST BE REAL
This tension cannot be artificially generated. I heard Karen questioning Katarina Witt’s voting because a skater hadn’t been well that week. Apparently Katarina should have allowed for that in the marks. The challenge from Karen is one Jason Gardiner would have eaten for breakfast and delivered a repost to expose it as being so.

When competing in the Olympics does the athlete ask the judges to take into consideration that they were ill last week? Karen competed in two Olympics with me. She knows this and what is more the public know it too, they get it’s not real and some turn off.

IT’S MORE COMPLICATED
Dancing on Ice also seems ever more complicated. So far I’ve seen: the team challenge, 23 skating moves on your own, gaining immunity from the public vote, out of ten voting with a technical split. Now I can understand the rationale for them but, ‘If it wasn’t broke?’ Sometimes the hardest job is keeping things simple.

Prune the show and strengthen that judging panel. The resulting fireworks will win back viewers. My love to all my friends and colleagues at DOI.

Nicky

© Copyright 2012 Nicholas Mark Slater

Photo © Ken McKay see www.kenmckay.tv

Friday, 23 March 2012

© Copyright Ken McKay www.kenmckay.com

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