For 16 seasons, Tom Bergeron has been the maestro of the circus that is Dancing with the Stars. And even he says that the changes the show has made for its 17th season — including returning to a single-night format and changing the layout of the ballroom — have taken some getting used to.
"It's a little weird," Bergeron tells TVGuide.com of the show's new structure.
This is the calm before the new-season storm. A week from now, only the most advanced devices will be able to handle the crush of new (and mostly returning-hit) programming airing on Thursdays, with expanded season openers of long-running faves The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and Grey's Anatomy among the draws.
By comparison, this is a much quieter Thursday, although NBC once had high hopes that the two-hour climax of the seemingly endless and haplessly muddled Million Second Quiz (8/7c) would be something to shout, instead of yawn, about. Instead, the peacock's more anticipated headliner is Valerie's Story — A Meredith Vieira Special (10/9c), an hour-long good-news report from the former Today co-anchor chronicling Valerie Harper's unusually public battle against terminal brain cancer.
It seemed as if the whole room was holding its collective breath as Valerie Harper took to the dance floor on Dancing With The Stars Monday night. Would the beloved star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a 74-year-old who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, get through 68 seconds of non-stop fox trot?
Heads will roll — and more than a few eyes — in Fox's lavishly entertaining but hopelessly convoluted new supernatural thriller Sleepy Hollow (Monday, 9/8c), which officially kicks off a new season of network premieres. Given how ordinary so many of the networks' new shows are this fall, it seems a bit churlish not to wholeheartedly embrace a series that is anything but ordinary. And yet by the end of an opening hour that gets off to a spectacularly fun start, I wanted nothing more than for it to just shut up with all of the apocalyptic mumbo jumbo.
On the plus side, a star is unquestionably born in Tom Mison, a winning British actor who makes for a dashing and amusing action hero in this bold re-imagining of Washington Irving's iconic Ichabod Crane (from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which we've heretofore seen Disney-fied and Tim Burton-ized). Here conceived as a studly Revolutionary War hero and spy for General George Washington, this Ichabod is mysteriously resurrected into the 21st century, along with the axe-wielding Headless Horseman who cut him down 250 years ago and is soon lopping off heads in the modern-day Hollow.
Dancing with the Stars returns for its 17th season Monday, after going through an overhaul this summer. In an attempt to curb the show's steadily declining ratings,Dancing has made a number of changes for the new season, including returning to a single-night format.
"Obviously it's always very challenging in ratings terms when shows mature," executive producer Conrad Green tells TVGuide.com. "I think the key is, you do need to keep innovating. You do need to keep trying new things."