Ten pins its Dancing With The Stars hopes on a bigger, more exciting format

Ahead of the launch of Dancing With The Stars tonight, Ten’s head of entertainment and factual programming, Stephen Tate, speaks to Mumbrella's Paul Wallbank about how the updated show will differ from Seven's earlier incarnation.

Ten’s relaunch of Dancing With The Stars, pitted against Nine’s Married At First Sight juggernaut and Seven’s My Kitchen Rules, is critical for the CBS-owned network as it recovers from the failure of Changing Rooms last week.

Speaking to Mumbrella about tonight’s launch, Stephen Tate, Ten’s head of entertainment and factual programming, believes the refreshed format will capture the imagination of viewers.

“We’re very much aware that it’s a brilliant format that has had incredible longevity in many markets around the world,” says Tate. “We don’t have to change it radically, but what we do need to do is inject a bit of Ten personality into it – the same way we do with all the franchises we take on.

“Whenever we tackle a format, nothing is a given. You have to look at the market as it is now. Many things have moved on since it was on Seven – the celebrity landscape has moved on, the musical landscape has moved on, the production landscape has moved on. There are so many things we can do that weren’t possible before.”

The show ran for 15 seasons on the Seven Network between 2004 and 2015, with its final season seeing the show comprehensively beaten by home renovation show, The Block.

For Ten’s version, Tate believes the bigger venue at Sydney’s Fox Studios will give the producers an opportunity give the performers, which include Karl Stefanovic’s ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn alongside Michelle Bridges, cricketer Curtly Ambrose and fashion blogger Constance Hall, a more energised audience.

“We’ve also given it a much larger canvas in that we’re going into a much bigger studio, which will allow a much bigger audience to attend, which will increase its energy, but also larger performance areas which will mean we can craft bigger production numbers.

“I think they’re going to be genuinely impressed by the level of dancing from the beginning. The cast is fantastic and many of the cast would not have been able to be considered in previous years, mainly because they would have been contracted to Ten.

“But also, the world of celebrity has changed, people like Constance Hall who has such a fantastic voice perhaps wouldn’t have been considered in recent years.”

Tate himself says developing the show for Ten was a ‘dream come true.’

“I’m beyond excited. You sometimes get asked what format on another network you’d most like to make, that was one of them.

“I’m unashamedly a shiny-floor guy. I did every season of Idol while it was on Ten and Dancing was the other format I would always have loved to have made, so this is a bit of a dream come true.

“I’ve had Cathy Scott, who’s a very seasoned executive producer, join me at Ten and Karen Green, who I’ve also worked very hard with on the Warner side, so it’s a bit of a dream team working on this.

“We want to get really clever twists on classic genres and obviously we want to introduce new genres into the format.

“It’s a unique challenge and it’s so exciting for us.”

Dancing with the stars debuts tonight on Ten at 7.30pm.


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